Friday, December 19, 2008
Joel and I were praying about getting a 2nd opinion, especially given Beckett's age, and the 30% chance of needing additional surgeries. Within days, a friend recommended a different pediatric opthamologist she works with, and we got an appointment. The 2nd Dr. confirmed that Beckett will eventually need surgery on both eyes, but recommended we wait, since he has excellent control and his eyes are aligned over half the time. This means his vision development isn't affected by the muscle problems yet. The magic words were, "If it were my son, I'd wait."
So he might be 7 years old before he needs surgery, and even waiting a year helps the accuracy. If we notice it getting worse, we are supposed to call, otherwise we go back in 6 months.
We feel good about the decision to wait. Thanks so much for your thoughts and prayers!!
Tuesday, December 16, 2008
Morning, muffled by a ground white with snow
Eli, toy or book in hand, imagination quietly spilling stories
Beckett, da-da-ing, his mouth and heart joining in a family song
Drumsticks, drumming everywhere
Laughter, overlapping, brought by brothers tousling
Delighted, "Daddy's home!"
Thank you, unsolicited
New melodies, etched in mind, Eli humming in the hallway
Palms pat-patting wood floors, Beckett scurrying to reach, to catch, to climb
The distant swirl of a confidently flushed toilet, because "I am big now."
Jumbled recounts of a day at school.
"Oh good, you got more carrots, can I please have one now?"
Spirit whispering, notice, cherish now
Monday, December 15, 2008
In the car...
M: "So Eli, pretty soon, you're gonna be too big to use a binkie."
E: "Yeah, but not right now. I am not too big yet. I'm big, but I'm not big enough to go in the street by myself."
M: "You won't be big enough to go in the street for a long time. But pretty soon, you'll be too big to use a binkie because you are getting really big. How about we get Lightning McQueen car when you are all done with binkie's, does that sound fun?"
E: "Yeah! And a Rusty, so I can drive Lightning McQueen into his back. I can have two things and that will be fun, right Mama?"
M: "Yes, that would be fun. But we'll just get a Lightning McQueen when you're all done using a binkie."(I'm still trying to figure out how he added Mack, who he calls Rusty, into this deal, but I'm not giving in, yet.)
E: "Yeah, and a Rusty, because I will be big soon. Not today, but how about on Thursday? Then we can go to the toy store and get two things. And I will put Lightning in his back, and he will drive up. Rusty's pretty fun, huh Mama?"
M: "Yes, Rusty is fun. We'll see."
I think they call this an assumptive close. And of course, he's prompting me with a nodding head and agreeable smile. Have they added some sort of sales training to his pre-school curriculum? Tucked in between Scissors 101, Intro to Fingerpainting, Snacks & Other Culinary Delights, is there a "Toys: How to Sweeten the Deal" class they didn't tell us about?
Later, when Joel came home from work,
E: "Daddy, soon I will be so big and I will not use a binkie and I will get Lightning and Rusty, and Lightning will ride up in his bag! That's pretty cool, huh?"
D: "Yep, that's pretty cool."
And still later:
E: "I think I need a snack. Can I have some hot chocolate? That will make my tummy bigger. And when my tummy gets bigger, I will get bigger and grow up and not use a binkie anymore! Does that sound like a good idea, Mama?"
Geesh, how do you say "no" to this kid?
P.S. Eli has gone two nights without a binkie! We gave him a "Lego" version of the racecar and truck that I was going to give him for Christmas. It's a set. So technically, I didn't buy both. Right? He's been playing with them ever since, and of course, slept with the Lightning McQueen. We didn't mind, since it's alot easier to find than a pacifier at 2:00 am in a dark room. This process of giving up the pacifier has been a lot easier on everyone than we expected.
Saturday, December 13, 2008
You be the mouse and I'll be the cooker (think Ratatouille)...
I'll be Saggy Baggy and you be the Tiger...
I'll be the Man with the Yellow Hat and you be Curious George...
You be Eli and I'll be Daddy...
You be the waterfall and I'll be the baby jaguar (think Diego)...
I'll be the man at Starbucks, and you be Mama... (He usually asks me if I want to order a "carbel bachio", a.k.a. Carmel Macchiato.)
And the real laughs come when he starts combining things for his own unique story-
You be the race car and I'll be polar bear, okay?
I'll Dr. Spewak, and you be Curious George.
You be Superwhy and I'll be Lightning Baqueen.
You be the fireman and put out the fire, and I'll be the dinosaur with super sharp teeth and I'll bite your head off!
I'll be Curious George and Beckett will be Mater. (Being Curious George requires some acting skills. Inflection, gestures, and expressions carry most of the weight in the dialogue when your vocabulary consists of "Ooh, Ooh, Ahh, and Oh.")
The director is calling...
Friday, December 12, 2008
Thursday, December 11, 2008
So, when he began his "yeah-it-snowed-so-we-can-build-a-snowman-just-like-Charlie Brown- and-use-a-carrot-for-his-nose" campaign, I was trying to think of a way to explain to him that there wasn't enough snow to build a snowman.
Then I heard J say, "Sure buddy, we can build a snowman. "
Huh? How? This sounds complicated, cold, and disappointing. I pictured us rolling little snowballs across our neighbors yards, down the street, just trying to gather enough snow for a decent sized body. "I think I'll just go inside with Beckett, since he has a cold, and let you two bigger boys have fun with this," I declared. But I doubted how much fun it would really be. They got to work.
Ten minutes later, E came in for a carrot, and I heard his little boots thumping enthusiastically back to the front door. A few more minutes, and he proudly announced that they were all done, and I should come see their snowman.
There he was- Frosty, Jr.
It didn't matter that he was eight inches tall. He did, after all, have a carrot nose, at least one eye, and two perfectly wonderful stick arms. Daddy was brilliant. E was thrilled. He placed our "pet" snowman safely on the porch steps.
Eli learned how to build a snowman. Mama learned an even better lesson that day.
Tuesday, December 9, 2008
A few tweaks though. We had too many leftovers. There's still some pasta primavera aging in the fridge, and I hate that it will go to waste. So, I'll try sending food w/J for lunch this week, freezing half the recipe, or eat leftovers and skip a night of cooking. I mean, tear myself away from the kitchen for night while protesting loudly. Ha.
I like this idea from simplemom.com. It helps to have a starting place...
Thursdays: Crock Pot
Fridays: Homemade Pizza and Dessert
Saturdays: Something New
Sundays: Something Easy
So, here we go with Week 2
#1 White Chicken Chili, Cornbread
#2 Beef Stroganoff, Green Beans
#3 Lemon Chicken Stir Fry & Rice
#4 BLT's & Minestrone Soup
#5 Calzones & Salad (This will be fun to include E when we assemble them)
Off to the store.
Monday, December 8, 2008
So, I woke up the other day with this witty little compliment running through my head. I don't remember what smelled good in my dream, but I said to someone,
"You put the ole'! in Olefactory."
I am such a nerd.
Wednesday, December 3, 2008
I took Beckett to a pediatric eye doctor and found out that the lazy-eye we've been noticing intermittently is really there, and thankfully, very treatable. I went to the appointment with mixed feelings. Thankful that we live in a large city that has such amazing health care for children (there were patients in his office that drove 4 hours to get to this specialist!), thankful that we noticed this early, and dreading the thought of eye-patches and exercises and glasses on a toddler.
I was a little surprised at the diagnosis and treatment.
He needs eye surgery. Ugh.
The doctor reassured me that we caught this while he was young, so he may never need additional treatment. And he does 200-300 of these procedures a year. That's good to know. He also empathized- no parent wants to have their child operated on. So, we're still getting used to the idea here, and I'm trying to picture letting people I barely know wheel our little boy back into an operating room. I've already begun praying for God to use the docs gifted hands to successfully perform this operation, that there would be no complications (not even gonna go there), and that we would only have to do this one time (1 in 4 need additional surgeries.) I'm thankful that the treatment plan was so clear. It would be tough to have to decide between this and other options. He said there was no immediate rush, to get in done in the next month.
We're scheduled for January 28th, unless they have a cancellation and can get him in sooner.
Now, about the heart surgery.
Eli got his first spanking yesterday. It's something we've been praying about for a few months now. Joel and I both had reservations about spanking our kids, and for the first 2 years, it didn't seem we would even need to, so we gratefully tabled the discussion. Mostly, our fear was about our ability to do it appropriately, especially given Joel and my childhood experiences. It felt like opening Pandora's Box. We've read book, prayed for wisdom, talk to more experienced parents...and waited.
Lately, it's been clear that other forms of discipline, positive reinforcement, time-outs, etc. were just not making the impact they needed too. Thankfully, at the same time, we have been getting a better grasp on what it would look like to use "spanking" in a responsible way.
Last night, some dinner issues blossomed into blatant defiance and disrespect. Joel and I agreed that this what the kind of thing that probably warranted some more serious discipline. Joel calmly took Eli upstairs, explained what would happen, and gave Eli his first spanking.
Heart surgery. Ugh.
Eli's tears were quick, loud, and just as quickly gone. They hugged and prayed together, and when he returned to the table his heart was humble and he was respectful. Joel's tears were quiet, and lasted much longer than Eli's.
It's a tough thing, to watch your child hurt, even if it's for a greater good.
Tuesday, December 2, 2008
I'm a tad envious. Maybe more than a tad. I am not one of those people. Often, I am okay with that. I like the fly-by-the-seat-of-my-pants-figure-it-out-as-I-go-pretend-I'm-MacGyver part of my personality. But I've noticed that having a family, and a husband with a doesn't-fit-in-the-box job, means that I am often wishing for the benefits of a more disciplined, organized lifestyle.
When it was just Joel and I, we were fine the ability to look in the refrigerator at 5:00 p.m. and come up with a nutritious, decent tasting home cooked meal by 5:45. I'm extra blessed because this man knows how to cook! So we just did the tag teamed thing since we were both working. But our family has grown, I am home with the boys, our lives are more hectic, and there are too many variable in the day for it to be successful. Beckett wants to be held, Eli wants a snack, something came up for Joel at work, I didn't make it to the store all weekend, etc.
So, I'm trying to learn a thing or two from the experts. It's hard to quiet the voice in my head telling me about what I "should" be able to do. The magazine articles, web site, and blogs of these dreamy women that eat only organic, feed a family of four on $250 a month, prepare a month of meals in advance, all while home-schooling their 5 children, training for marathons, inspired & loved by a big and personal God, humorously & romatically loving their husband, warmly & creatively decorating their home, and selling their handmade creations on Etsy...you catch my drift. Somehow I feel zero pressure when Faith Hill sports a bikini on the cover of a magazine at the age of 41. It's this other stuff that really has me inspired, overwhelmed, and then sometimes discouraged.
Yes, God could do something supernatural, and in that case I will humbly blog about how I have it all together. (ha!) In the meantime, I want to be the best mom, wife, and friend I can be, figuring out how God has equipped me to fulfill these roles. Here are my small steps for the week.
1) Be really aware and present in moments as they unfold. Especially with my family.
2) Make something more beautiful each day. And something is a broad category.
3) Have a dinner plan and fix dinner 5 nights this week.
Baby steps, right? Yep. And this is what we are having for dinner this week.
#1 Baby Back Ribs, Mashed Sweet Potatoes, Roasted Asparagus
#2 Slow Cooker Chicken and Dumplings, Salad, Acorn Squash Oven-Fries
#3 Pasta Primavera, Italian Rolls
#4 Lasagna, Baby Carrots w/Butter Dill sauce, Salad
#5 Maple-glazed Salmon, Curry rice w/cranberries and pecans, Edemame
#6 Tamale Pie
#7 Sunday...time for leftovers or Pizza
Have any quick healthy dinners you want to pass along? Oh, and here's a cool site that already has me inspired to start working on next week's menu. And maybe I'll get to the gym too.
Hey, a girl can dream, right?
Monday, December 1, 2008
For example, my attempt at a quick shower.
"Ooh, I only have 10 minutes before Joel leaves for work. Now's my chance for a shower. Gotta make it quick. Hurry, start the water. Quick, get in, no time for eye brow grooming or checking for any new skin issues. No time for weighing in. Get in, get out. Is the water warm yet? Ok, getting in. Hurry, wet hair, apply soap lather, rinse. Rinse. Ahh, warm water. Rinsing a little more. Just standing here, with my eyes closed...thinking about the day ahead. Hmmm, maybe this should be a tad warmer. Ahh, that's much better. In just a minute, I'll wash my face. Just need to stand here in the tropical paradise for a few more seconds. Then, I'll move." 10 minutes later, with the bathroom steaming, I emerge, in awe again of the time warp I just encountered, again.
The same thing happens with my attempt to "quickly" check my email, run to the grocery store, or worse, Target, get a snack, run back into the house for something I forgot, call a friend.
Surely, there are some redeeming qualities to this personality trait?
Think I'll reflect on that during tomorrow morning's shower.
Friday, November 28, 2008
I am not a fan of the early morning. Or lines. Or shopping. (Would I like shopping if it didn't make me feel guilty? Hmm) So I love a good deal, but not enough to wake up at 5:00 in the morning and go, well, anywhere. Maybe someday, when I sleep through the night whenever I want, I'll join the rest of the world and stimulate our economy with some serious Black Friday spending.
But not this year. This year, I woke up and made banana bread. And then, a new recipe that turned into a yummy-I-didn't-have-enough-pumpkin-on-Thanksgiving breakfast . I made some syrup to go on top- combination of some stuff I found on allrecipes.com. Some apple juice, pumpkin, karo syrup, brown sugar, cinnamon, nutmeg...and who knows what else. This was another one of those creations that drives Joel crazy. I didn't follow a recipe, which means I'm not entirely sure I can make it again. We have a few pasta dishes he loved that I am still trying to recreate...
Saturday, November 15, 2008
It's okay to have month long gaps in posting, right? Because this is for me, mostly. And I don't have to be so all or nothing about it. I can wander right back into writing about all the wonderful, ordinary, delightful, frustrating things going on in our life.
Things don't just fade away. They can fade in too.
Monday, October 20, 2008
"I'll just buy some white sweatpants and a shirt to dye yellow," I thought. That sounded simple enough. Maybe if I started looking in spring, but I soon discovered that October is not a good month for white. Walmart, Target, Old Navy, Goodwill- no one had white sweats or jeans. I finally found some used size 10 girls jeans at Kangaroo Kids, and a shirt from the boys school uniform section at Target.
So, here's the outfit after a dip in the yellow fabric dye from Walmart. I'm still working on the hat. The felt is kind of hard to work with, and I really have no idea what I'm doing. But Eli was thrilled and couldn't wait to wear it, which is the whole point really. I had no idea how fun it would be to indulge his imagination and do these little things for him.
Wednesday, September 24, 2008
Every morning, as Beckett wakes up (in our bed, yes, which is another post for another day) rolls over and pats Daddy on the back, he says, "Da-da...Da-da...Da-da." On the rare occasion that it doesn't wake J up, Beckett rolls back over to my side and pulls my hair, or sticks his fingers up my nose, depending on which way I'm facing. Nice, huh? At first, I thought this finger- up-the-nose-pinching move was an accident courtesy of his uncoordinated little fingers, but he does it pretty consistently, and uses the same maneuver on J if he happens to be facing him. Apparantly, he's very practical. Of course it gets us up, because, ouch, little fingers and little fingernails are quite a startling and effective way to wake up drowsy parents.
Once he has successfully gotten our attention, he puts in his request for the person he really wants to see. Or maybe he just notices that one family member is missing from this morning snuggle time. "Eee-I.....Eee-I....E-I.....Eeeee-IIII."
He is saying Eli. He says it alot. We thought it was a fluke, because 9 months is on the young side for talking. But it's not a fluke. He repeats it immediately after J calls for Eli. He says it when Eli walks out of the room. He says it as a scoots on his belly across the hardwood floors, looking for Eli. He says it with a giant grin when Eli walks back into the room. He says it in his high chair while he watches Eli eat.
Call it wishful thinking, but we're taking it as a sign of some answered prayers. These boys will be friends. Best of friends. And brothers.
Friday, September 5, 2008
Tuesday, September 2, 2008
Sunday, August 24, 2008
Here are the pics from E's big 0-3. We headed out west to The Maples for a true "boy" birthday. Pony rides? Nope. The Maples and their neighbor generously provided a real live Bobcat, and it was a huge hit. The kids had a blast riding it and he loved his construction site cake. We had a great time celebrating three wonderful years.
Thursday, August 21, 2008
Wednesday, August 20, 2008
Friday, August 8, 2008
"No, let's pick a different one, that one's too hot," Daddy said.
E picked two more long sleeve shirts, which we also told him were too hot, and explained that any of the ones with short sleeves would be nice and cool.
We didn't think any more about it until he woke up the next morning, pointed to his closet and declared in an earnest, excited voice, "Da-ddy! The shirts are not hot anymore! They cooled off!"
He yanked his hand away quickly and said, "Oh no, no, no Mama. Not my hand. You can just do this part, " and pointed to his fingertip.
I reasurred him that I would only clip his nails. We laugh at E's intensity sometimes. But really, it must be stressful to be only two and faced with the formidable task of thwarting grown-up attempts to clip off your entire hand.
Monday, August 4, 2008
Getting out of Target for under $30 requires serious and constant focus. Walk past the dollar aisle, look away from the happy shirts and shorts, linger not at the clearance end-cap, walk around the children's clothing section, and so on.
Since I don't want to justify a Target category in our budget, I recently started limiting myself to a once a week fix, um, I mean shopping trip. No more recreational Targeting. I will go with a list, and I will follow it. Mostly. But getting out for under $10? I consider that a huge accomplishment. It may never happen again, but at least I can say I did it once. July 22, 2008. 4:44 PM.
Thursday, July 10, 2008
What's the first movie you ever saw in a theater? Exactly. I have no idea either. I remember E.T. and Star Wars, but I'm pretty sure those weren't the first. Technically, Eli's first movie was The Chronicles of Narnia: The Lion, The Witch and The Wardrobe. But he was only a two months old, and spent the entire time sleeping or nursing.
We decided to try another movie while Wehrenberg runs its Summer Family Movie Series since its free. I figured he would make it through 20 minutes, and then we could leave and I wouldn't feel guilty about wasting $20. But he loved it. He watched the whole thing. Snacking on colored goldfish, sipping apple juice, and trying not to let the seat fold up on his 28 pound self. Our neighbors joined us for the adventure. Owen had a great time. Beckett sat, and then slept, content in his car seat. Owen's mom and I shared a few tears at the end, as Charlotte breathed her last breath (spiders do breathe, right?), the credits rolled, and we soaked in the moment that our boys had watched, and enjoyed, their very first movie.
I wondered what Eli would remember of the movie, and what parts he would re-tell to Joel. He loved to see the eggs hatch and baby geese come out. And it soon became clear that he had a favorite character. The innocent, friendly pig? Nope. The gentle, wise spider? Nope. The spunky, rebellious, messy rat? Yep, that would be it. He's been climbing up the couch, jumping into the cushions, and rolling around with his feet up, saying, "Looook, Mama, I'm Templeton!" You just never know what will make an impression. Rats!
Tuesday, July 8, 2008
We kind of worked in lots of elements that Eli is interested in. He's very practical, so I told him when he woke up that we were out of diapers. "That's okay Mama, you can just go to Target and get some more." Okay, really practical. He was outside swimming in his little pool when I told him that I need him to water some plants with his potty. He did. Twice. That's when I knew he had a decent handle on his bodily functions. So, on the 4th, he was standing in front of the toilet, and I'm trying to get him to pee. "Eli, go potty just like you did when you watered the plants." "I can't Mama." I picked a leaf off of some plants on the window sill, dropped it in the toilet, and told him that the leaf needed some water. (I was hoping he wouldn't get too practical again and tell me it was already in water.) Presto! He peed. And he was off to a great start, collecting truck stickers, peeing and pooping his way toward golf clubs "like Tiger has" and a fishing pole, "like George does". As in Curious George.
Friday, June 13, 2008
We hope you like the card we made for you. Beckett's picture is pretty cute, so we put that in the package too. Mama and Daddy tell us we're handsome all the time, so if you happen to disagree, take it up with them!
We sure miss you, but we understand that you have to be in Savannah for Cloe...wait...Cloe's a cat?!? You're in Savannah because of a cat? What's that cat got on us? You've got some explaining to do. Remember how cute we are? How stunning our eyes, how breathtaking our smiles? So what if Cloe can go to the bathroom by herself; Eli's up to 1 out of 5 in that category, which Daddy says is a "vast improvement."
Anyway, we're still here doing our thing in the STL. Come see us anytime. Oh, and tell Cloe to sleep with one eye open. We know some cats down there.
Love Your Human Nephews,
Eli & Beckett
I do not like, however, the precariously stacked assortment of bowls that end up in our fridge to hold all the leftovers. Not to mention, the fact that all the cereal bowls are sitting in there when I actually want to use one to eat cereal. And they're white, which means I forget what's in there and we end up with the occasional science experiment of unrecognizable food. And I'm tired of all the Saranwrap.
I've tried the Gladware and stuff, but it just doesn't feel healthy to heat our food in plastic. I don't want to store it in one dish, then heat it in another. So, I happily spent twenty dollars the other day on three of these little dishes. Clear. Glass. Sturdy. Stackable. With lids. Ready for the microwave, freezer, and oven.-ready.
Didn't our grandparents use these? Now I know why...
Thursday, June 12, 2008
Wednesday, June 11, 2008
Off he went, down the sidewalk, left arm straight and swinging as he ran. He looked up and to the left, where the crescent moon was sitting in the blue evening sky.
"I'm racing the banana moon!"
Another one of those parenting moments I want to remember forever.
Monday, June 2, 2008
Sunday, June 1, 2008
My Uncle Jim and Aunt Ceressa's home is one of those places. We had never been there before. In fact, we hadn't seen them since our wedding. That's not one, but two kids ago! A lot has changed in four years, but alot has stayed the same. My uncle is still building. Their kids, my cousins, Andrew and Julianna are much bigger now. Hovering on the brink of teenage years. But so kind and patient and friendly, especially, and this meant the world to us, to our kids.
Eli was absolutely in love with both of them. He wanted to jump off the diving board like them, ride the dirtbike like them, eat cereal like them, ride a skateboard like them, play basketball like them...you get the idea.
I just soaked up the space. It was everywhere. They live on 50 acres, and there is just lots of beautiful scenic space. Rolling hills, sprawling vineyards, lazy blue skies, twisting turning oak trees, cows, horses, big estates that almost look like normal sized homes against all the open space. It was hot and sunny and we loved it.
Aunt Ceress had a huge pile of toys ready for Eli when we got there.
Eli loved running around.
Joel said it best, that it just felt like family. We ate, hung out at the house, talked, read, saw the town, spent an afternoon at the beach, saw San Luis Obispo, and got a tour of the area. It was great to visit with them, and we were so thankful for the days we got to spend there.
Beckett really wanted my milkshake, or at least the straw.
Eli made good use of his straws while we waited for our food. He really concentrates when he does this. Notice the flared nostrils.