Thursday, November 14, 2013

The Disappearing Foot



Whenever I help Eli into his pajama bottoms we both bump heads a time or two as we are simultaneously head-bent watching the pajama-bottom-putting-on-process. 
He stands on the changing table and puts his hands on the top of my head while I bounce each foot into the appropriate pajama leg.
It finally occurred to me this was serious business to Eli – hence all the intense supervision I get while dressing him. 
Last night, when we both had our heads down studying the process he murmured, “Where Eli’s foot go?”
At that very moment his foot appeared through the red elastic band at the end of his pj-pant-leg at which he immediately shouted  with joy: “DERE IT IS!”
Whew!


Tuesday, November 12, 2013

Apple of My Eye



Mama look at us with this play-doh! We are play-doh –maticians!

That’s right. Let’s make a sun.

Oh yeah, Ok!

We can make a play-doh campfire with this brown and red play-doh.

Oh yeah. Good idea. 

Hey bud, I gotta go help daddy for a sec. I’ll be right back.

Ok.

(several minutes later)

Hey, mama! Come look at what I made!

What did you make?

An apple core!

An apple core?

Yeah! Look! I just took it out of the play-doh can, squeezed it and look… an apple core!

Uh…Wow.

I know! I’m very creative.

Tuesday, October 22, 2013

Xtreme Baby



There is no in-between with Eli. 
When he runs, there is only full speed and on the ground. 
When he wants to read a book with you, there is no middle ground. It is not up for discussion.
You are reading where all the baby animals are sleeping AGAIN.
When it comes to requesting, Eli is a shouter.
I’m sure this is a typical sibling trait. When the youngest one has to speak up to be heard, things get noisy.
Plus, we are a loud family.
 Lately, I have started to work with him on lowering his voice.
 But just like the rest of Eli’s habits, it is one extreme or the other.
His polite shouts begin:

MAMA! PEASE I HAVE MORE MILK! MAMA! PEASE I HAVE MORE MILK!

Eli, you don’t have to shout. Just ask mama. What do you need?

in the softest, tiniest whisper I can barely hear:  mama, pease i have more milk?

Tuesday, October 15, 2013

We Go To The Mattresses



Each boy was sitting at opposite ends of the dining room table eating waffles for breakfast before school. 
I checked on them numerous times during the daily hustle that is hurry-eat-get-dressed-and-out-the-door-ahhhh!
In between dressing, blow drying, etc. I paused to peep in and see how the waffle eating had progressed when I overheard Eli going mafia on Jackson.
From across the table, waffle in hand, the tiny don quietly stated, “You, hit me.”
Jackson, waffle in mouth a table away, immediately responded, “No, I didn’t!”
“You, hit me.”
“No. I did not.”
“You.  Hit.  Me. Jackson.”
He sounded like an evil baby making sure his victim was getting the picture. As if to say: You hit me and that is how it’s going down.
Each word in a deep voice, each pronounced slowly and with purpose.
I was standing, hidden behind Eli with my mouth agape. My adorable baby turned mob boss was outlining the threats crystal clear – setting up his target. Jackson just sat there shaking his head and stuffing his face with more waffle.
It was about to go down.
I eventually came around the corner and looked at both boys. Jackson’s face was in a state of exaggerated disbelief, humor and waffle.
“What’s going on here?’ I demanded.
And in the sweetest, most adorable, tiny baby voice Eli squeaked, “Jackson hit me, mama!”
“He did?”
“Yes.”
“Where?”
“Right dere,” he squeaked while pointing to the top of his head.
I glanced to the other end of the table where Jackson had remained the entire time. 
The look on Jackson’s face was a mix of “this baby is crazy” with “I better start watching my back” and a little syrup. 
This gives a whole new meaning to the Terrible Twos.

Monday, October 7, 2013

Chase

After soccer games, Eric collects the equipment, I collect stray snack-trash and my parents collect Eli. Jackson charges around the game fields with teammates and classmates - burning off the excitement from the game.
As twilight approaches and we near the concession stand, a last call to the boy will typically round him up.
But the other night, it was a bit more difficult to call the colt into the gate.
He was in the midst of some serious chase.
As in a trio of adorable little girls were in hot pursuit of soccer player No. 3.
As the pack finally slowed to a halt at my final call, Jackson began to introduce his chasers but the tallest interrupted him with her own professional introduction:

Oh it's ok, I know him.

Oh, you do?

Yes, I chase him. 




Tuesday, September 24, 2013

Is This For Real?

Well, we are all moved in and only had three boxes left to unpack so we did what everyone does with the last three miscellaneous boxes and put them in the attic to one day be discovered, maybe right before a garage sale and as is typical we will say "apparently we never really needed this so and so..."
Actually, I just went through those last few boxes and can officially say that as of this very moment we are 100% moved in.
Box-free!
The move back to the natural state was the very end of May ... so ... about four months to get every last box unpacked? Not too shabby. Of course, all of that was made possible from the help of friends and family which in turn was at the top of the list of reasons to return to the land of opportunity.
In the meantime, Eric and my parents have been digging in the yard and it is starting to really shape up. The place was very overgrown and had not seen any yardwork-love in more than 5 years.Sometimes it seems endless, but when I look back at before photos the transformation has been amazing.
Household improvements include replacing all of the bedroom/closet doors from 1970s-apartment-dark-wood-brass-lever-handled to fresh-white-brushed aluminum handled, painting over the bright pink stripes in Eli's room, trellising in under the deck to create an outdoor storage area and lovely place for gardenias, ivy, etc., installing an outdoor ceiling fan to better enjoy the deck, adding a screen door to said deck to better enclose small children, adding a dimmer to the dining room, installing pops of fresh green curtains in the kitchen and of course yard-work.
We are settling in for fall and are turning our focus to Jackson's homework (what is this first-grade common core madness!?), his twice-a-week soccer games and his hip-hop dance class (that's a whole other post!). This year, Jackson's soccer team is the Limes and Eric stepped up to be the coach. Both are learning a lot, doing a great job and enjoying it very much.
We are enjoying Eli's non-stop adorable chatter and how he loves to count: one, two three, seven, eight! Not an evening goes by that Eli doesn't request I read him a book. Not one. It is his second most favorite thing to do; going "outside to play" ranks No. 1.
But the best parts about these days is that when I look around at soccer, hip-hop, dinner - the faces I see are just too good to be true.
Can it really be that I am just casually grocery shopping with my mom? Peaches? Check. Milk? Check. My Mom? What!
Are my kids really walking the dog with my dad after dinner? Pop the baby in the stroller and let's walk over to ... meet up with my dad?!?!
Is this all really happening? Are we all just going to act like this is normal?
Is my best friend just swinging by for a quick, work-week lunch like it's just a plain, old Monday? I still have a hard time not rushing and trying to talk about everything under the sun because I am so used to only seeing these people every few months, at best.
Is this really just an ordinary Tuesday where PawPaw, Mam and Granddad are here to see Jackson play his first soccer game?
Did Pop and Dearie just drop off a tiller for Eric to prep the yard? Also, how sad is it that we are excited to have a tiller? 
Seriously. Is this our "every day"? No way! For real?
Our friends and family always made a big effort to travel to see everyone as much as possible. It's not like we were all countries away from each other, but even a five-hour drive makes a big difference in your day to day. Now that we are all so close, it is hard to believe this is our new normal.
This must be how those other people lived. Those people I would see at school festivals, Christmas shopping, soccer games, doctor appointments who had miscellaneous family members sharing meals, cheering on, helping out - doing that whole "takes a village" thing. We'd always see those people who had most of their family close and feel a twinge - missing our extendeds.
So, this is what it's like.
Well, let me tell you, it is the best.
The. Best.
So much to enjoy, so many to enjoy it with.
So glad to be in the wonder state.

Wednesday, September 18, 2013

Roll Call



Eli is right in the middle of the roll-call phase. 
Every activity – working, laundry, sleeping, eating, walking – are regularly assigned to the people around him and even those who live elsewhere.
The roll-call game is one of my favorite because he drags it out and sing-song-says it like a little grown-up. As if his list is almost as exhausting as the actual activity he is checking off.
Here’s how it works.
Eric will be working on a project in the garage:
Mama? Daddy workin.’
Yes.
Silence while contemplating this information and then a sing-songy unleashing…
Daaaaddy workin.’ Eeeeli workin.’ Jaaaaackson workin.’ Granddaaaad workin.’ Eeeelvis workin.’ Izzyyyy workin.’

Apparently, there is a lot of working going on around here.