Thursday, April 29, 2010

Eli in his Big Bed!

So much has happened since I blogged last week. My friend asked me to photograph the birth of her second son, who arrived early Friday morning (1 a.m.) and then I had the hardest time going back to sleep after I got home at 2:30 a.m. How do you go back to sleep when you’ve just seen a baby born?? It was too exciting :) 

On Friday, I did my best to make it through the day after getting just a few hours of sleep. On Saturday, I had an engagement photo shoot with the cutest, happiest couple. I had to be fast and edit the photos that night to get the CD of images to them the next day since they are getting married next month…I stayed up late working on those that night. Then every chance I had on the computer, I was sorting through the 500 photos that I took at the birth, editing them, etc. with my very slow computer that kept stalling on me. I’m replacing this computer SOON! I can’t wait.

Not to mention that Eli got sick over the weekend. It started off with a fever of 103 on Saturday. I stayed home with the kids on Sunday since he woke up feverish again, this time with a croupy cough (along with the fact that he woke up crying or coughing a zillion times on Saturday night). On Tuesday, Charlie woke up and was sneezing, coughing, and feverish. Eli seemed fine in the morning, so I sent him to preschool. But later that day, I felt a little guilty about that decision because he was SO crabby and still coughing here and there. Today, both kids were miserable but I decided if we didn’t at least go to the park, I was going to lose my mind being cooped up with two sad, crabby kids (I think at least one of the kids was crying on and off throughout the day). Poor Charlie sneezed SO much, so he had constant watery eyes and had these massive amounts of snot flying out of his nose, it was crazy.

So besides the germs looming in our house, the biggest change around here was Eli moving out of his crib to a big bed! He’s never actually climbed out of his crib, but he has started to get more adventurous with his climbing and I was nervous about him finally trying it. Besides, he seemed ready for the change. Here he is on Saturday night, reading the book, Yummy/Yucky in his big boy bed. I’m off to bed, but I’ll post more pictures soon – from the birth and from the rest of the week. Someday I’ll feel caught up… right??

Tuesday, April 20, 2010


Oh what a day. This really is how life is with a toddler – some days, Eli is super happy, charming, fun, etc. (like yesterday when he went to the dentist). Today was a completely different day. The morning was fine (Eli was at preschool), but by the afternoon, he was having a hard time.

One of the main problems was that I picked up a small Little Einstein’s ball at Target last night and just bought one, so the boys had to share. I’m just not going to buy two of everything (we have plenty of duplicate toys around here, but we have SO many balls rolling around inside and outside that it’s silly to buy two of these). Well of course both boys wanted to play with the ball and that put Eli in a lot of turmoil. It eventually got so bad that I put the ball out of sight and said Eli needed to improve his behavior to earn it back for tomorrow. I was not giving in to these crazy fits.

The rest of the day was so awful. Eli would not stop crying about anything and everything and at one point cried so hard that he threw up (something he does occasionally, it’s gross, but only when he gets SO worked up that he gags on his phlegm). Luckily I could tell it was coming, so I ran him in to the bathroom and he threw up there.

But by about 5:30 p.m., Eli was inconsolable. He was tired of me (and I was tired of him!!) and just wanted Ben to be home. There was a chance Ben was going to have to work late tonight, but luckily he took his normal train home and arrived a little after 6. But Eli kept screaming that he wanted to talk to Ben on the phone (and flipped out when Ben got cut off at one point because of where the train was), so I kept calling him back and they stayed on the phone during Ben’s entire train ride (Eli was crying the whole time of course – for no obvious reason, he was just sad) and didn’t stop crying until we got him ready for bed and were reading books, so he relaxed a little.

At one point before Ben got home, I was ready to pull my hair out from the constant crying. But I tried to see the humor in the situation – Eli was on the phone with Ben and Charlie had quietly snuck off to the bathroom and was happily pulling/tearing up the toilet paper and making a mess. I like how at the end of the following video clip that Charlie tried to come up to Eli and talk to Ben on the phone too. Eli wasn’t happy about sharing his talking time with Charlie. And Charlie was trying to give him a piece of toilet paper, but it was a gesture that wasn’t taken very well.

And I swear the crying seemed louder in person – especially earlier when he was sitting in my lap flipping out… by this point he had been crying for over an hour straight so he was a little worn down (please excuse the laundry in the video).

Here’s a video of Charlie saying his favorite word, happy, over and over right before we put him to bed. It was pretty cute. And you’ll see Eli back to a more normal state.

Since this is a post with videos, I’m going to sneak in this clip of Charlie saying hi and giggling at his friend Tabitha’s beta fish yesterday -

Tomorrow has to be a better day (fingers crossed).

Eli’s 1st Dentist Appointment

I wasn’t sure what to expect with Eli’s first visit to the dentist, but it went so well! Surprisingly well. I tried not to talk too much about the appointment ahead of time because I didn’t want him to get nervous, but I did mention it casually a few times last week and then we talked a little bit about it during lunch today. A friend suggested focusing on the cool things about the dentist – the moving chair, the neat tools that they use… and I think that totally worked. When we walked into the room, Eli climbed right up onto the chair, kicked back and gave me this big smile. I think it helped that he had seen me at this dentist office a few times before. I debated taking him to one of the great pediatric dentists near us, but we don’t have dental insurance and having him go to my dentist was cheaper. Plus, I knew that having a t.v. in the room would be a good distraction for him.

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He was wearing his Lightning McQueen crocs and holding a mini Lightning car in his hand for good luck :) The hygienist was wonderful with Eli. She popped in Finding Nemo (skipping past the scary parts in the beginning) and gave him sunglasses so her big light wouldn’t shine right in his eyes. She counted all 20 of his teeth, scraped a little plaque in a really gentle way, brushed and flossed and ended with a fluoride treatment. He got to pick out a Mater toothbrush at the end, which was also a highlight since we seemed to be on a Cars theme today.

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Eli was extra cooperative and happy to smile, open his mouth and keep it open… it almost felt too good to be true. Really. I felt very lucky since Eli has been so unpredictable lately – he is either super happy, smiley, etc. (like he always used to be) or he is sometimes so sour and moody, especially to strangers. :) I’m glad he was so happy at the appointment.

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I do think it helped that he could zone in on Nemo though. Here he is waiting for the dentist to come in and check his teeth. He had no cavities and his teeth looked good!

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Charlie spent the appointment sitting in the stroller, eating snacks. He did a good job too, which was a relief since I had to wake him up from his nap to get to the appointment on time. Oh the life of a second child!

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Thursday, April 15, 2010

I’ve Never Gone in Lake Michigan in April…

…until today. And I’ve lived nearly my entire life by this lake. That shows you how rare our crazy (wonderful) Spring has been.

Today it was another 80-degree day. After preschool, I was debating what to do the entire ride home. Should we go get some lunch? Should we run errands? Should we play at the park? Should we go home? I consulted the Boy with Opinions (Eli) and he did NOT want to go to lunch (the kids always eat at the end of preschool). He wanted to go to the beach. I figured he was right, we should take advantage of this beautiful day while it lasted.

So we went to the beach that has a park too. I called my friend Krista, who had mentioned in an email that she was thinking about going sometime today, said we were going now and it would be fun to meet there if it worked for them. She was dropping her dog off for an appointment but they joined us a little bit later.

Here’s Eli with his signature rosy cheeks on a warm day -

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Kai and Sisi, the siblings who get along SO WELL. It’s pretty amazing and sweet to watch them play together.

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Eli climbed up on this motorcycle, which isn’t a big deal for most kids his age, but for Eli, this IS a big deal. I totally credit his physical therapy in helping him gain more arm and leg strength + coordination to get up there. There is such a difference when I watch Charlie climbing now at almost 15 months, compared to how Eli was at that same age. He hardly ever climbed up on stuff. I’m hoping we can spend lots of time this summer at different parks where he’ll keep getting practice. Yeah, Eli!!

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After lots of park time, we moved down to the beach. Usually it’s too cold to swim in Lake Michigan in JUNE. The water was ACTUALLY bearable to wade in at the shore. But there were older kids running right in (like up to their waist – which was a little crazy but they seemed fine). Eli had a tiny shock when his shorts first got wet, but he got used to it after a while.

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Charlie was very determined to go into the water… I love how far his feet sunk into the wet sand. He wasn’t so sure about that. Look at my WHITE legs that haven’t seen the sun since September. Though I guess they did see a little sun in California at Christmas time, but that doesn’t count.

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Eli insisted that we bring the crocodile sand mold, so we stopped by our house on the way to the beach to pick it up. Then he was possessive over the croc head the entire time. Ahhh sharing is tough.

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Charlie was so worn out by this point – he had a short morning nap, but was gearing up for another one, especially after playing outside for a while.

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Eli kept carrying handfuls of wet drippy sand over to the croc head mold. I’m not sure what his exact plan was, but he kept doing that, over and over again.

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Krista’s pregnant and was roasting in her black pants, but still had a smile on her face. :)

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There’s Charlie’s classic move – pointing. Today he was pointing at the waves in the water and the occasional bird that flew by.

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Turning Sisi into a mermaid -

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I had crazy hair today, partly because I just let it air dry (instead of blowing it dry), but also because the wind was pretty fierce. I was glad I didn’t bother with the hair dryer though because it wouldn’t have made a difference.

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Here’s Charlie as we’re starting up the staircase from the beach to get up to the parking lot. It must look so long from a 1-year-old’s perspective.

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Hooray for an impromptu beach day!! Chicago will be back to 50s and 60s for the next little while, so this was a treat. It was fun to bust out the shorts and get all sandy!

Wednesday, April 14, 2010

Blue Face, Blue Skies

Eli loves these Crayola window crayons and spends a lot of time decorating the sliding glass door. However, he’s also discovered that it’s fun to use them on his face – I discovered this blue face after coming back downstairs after putting Charlie down for his nap last week.

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I thought maybe it was a one-time thing, but nope! Here he is on a different day, this time with the red window crayon… in case you’re wondering, these are washable and I was able to get MOST of the blue and pink out of his skin, but there was a slight, subtle color remaining for a day or so after each time he decorated his face.

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We’ve had some beautiful blue skies! Saturday was a wonderful day – we spent lots of time outside in the back yard and then headed to the park in the early evening.

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Eli is capable of swinging by himself, but he wanted to be like Charlie and swing on his dad’s lap too.

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We got them to play on this for about 10 seconds together (before Eli was ready to hop off and try something else).

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Then today we had another wonderfully sunny, unusually warm Spring day, so we headed to the park to meet up with our playgroup. Charlie had a blast climbing all over the place. I think he only bonked his head once while we were there. He is in the most crazy busy phase – always on the move, climbing, exploring, falling, and getting back up in a matter of minutes.

My embarrassing parenting story of the week is from Sunday when we were at church – it was the third hour and I had arrived to class late, so the only seats available were in the front row. I sat Charlie down next to me, but he was all over the place, moving around the room like always and staying very, very busy. Finally I got him to sit back down next to me on the chair, but at some point he managed to fold in half and slide through the back of the chair, falling on his back on the floor behind the chair.

Of course this happened while someone was making a comment and it was pretty quiet – well you can imagine the reaction of the women in the room and we were all waiting for that expected scream out of Charlie’s mouth (it took a few seconds – he was pretty upset). I was trying to move my chair out of the way so I could get back to where he was and get us out of that room as fast as possible… I was pretty embarrassed. Charlie was fine and calmed down pretty fast once we were out in the hall and he could roam freely. Crazy boy!!! I’m glad he was okay though. This kid keeps me on my toes.

Some other comments about Charlie right now at nearly 15 months… he LOVES animals, especially dogs, squirrels, and birds since he sees those often in the neighborhood. He is constantly saying, “Hi!” to animals that he spots, even if it’s a bird far, far away. Charlie is still my snuggly little guy, and sometimes when he wakes up too early in the morning or from his nap, he insists on me holding him while he holds his favorite green blankie and sucks his thumb, burrowed into my arms. I kiss those round cheeks nonstop and love the way his skin smells. Is that weird?? :)

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Eli has had an interesting couple of months. He’s become VERY opinionated, strong-willed, and a curious child who asks a lot of questions. Every time we pass the Northwestern football stadium, he yells, “Go CATS!” and asks why we can’t go inside. “Mama, do you want to go to a GO CATS game?”

Eli also likes to say regularly that “yesterday” was Christmas and Santa brought such and such toy. Or every time our annoying smoke/carbon monoxide alarm goes off (says it’s testing???), Eli says, “Remember yesterday when the smoke alarm went off and Charlie got scared?” When actually, it was Eli who freaked out in the instance he is talking about.

Eli has all kinds of phrases or interests that we hear often -

“No, I say that” – with lots of emphasis on the “I”

“Why????” over and over and over again : )

“Okedoke artichok-e”

He says “cookie” in a way that kind of rhymes with “who” and has a very nasal, Midwestern way of asking for a “snaaaaaaack.”

He loves saying his prayer on behalf of someone else, like his Froggy or dolphin or whatever other stuffed animal is nearby.

“I guess I…” and finishes it with “need a treat” or “don’t need to go to bed” or “need to play outside a little longer,” etc. Tonight it was, “I guess Froggy doesn’t need help saying the prayer” when I was trying to prompt him to say some things other than, “Thank you for mom and dad, Eli and Froggy and Charlie and books.”

He, like his dad, is obsessed about the next time he is going to go fishing. He loves it.

He can be a stinker to Charlie, but then has moments when he is so sweet with his little brother. I know that deep down he loves Charlie :)

He can be extremely emotional still and has moments when he totally explodes, whether it’s about not wanting to share his toy with a friend who is over at our house (or with Charlie) or he doesn’t want to leave the house or change what he is doing… I keep thinking this will improve as he gets a little bit older since he wasn’t always this way. I love him like crazy (but by the end of the day, I’m often emotionally spent from trying to stay calm through all of his antics).

But on a positive note – we’ve had two days of zero potty accidents!! That’s a record for him. I still have to remind him and take him to the bathroom once an hour, but I feel like we’re finally making some progress. Hooray!! (he RARELY initiates it on his own still, but hopefully we’ll get there soon) His physical therapy is also going very well – we LOVE his therapist and she has helped him make a lot of progress in just a few months. He has orthotics in his shoes now, which I’m hoping will also help with his leg strength (his feet are pretty flat and fall inward, so this should give them more support).

Here’s Eli, playing with two of his girl friends, Ava and Evelyn at the park. He loves these girls.

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Ring around the rosie…

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And finally in this very random post, these pictures are from my back yard this evening – our little tree has finally bloomed and I love the pretty white flowers!

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