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Friday, January 30, 2009

Family time

This post and the next are a couple of weeks overdue, but I guess that's not too bad considering that Eli's Christmas thank-you notes are over a month overdue! (Sorry everyone, I promise they're coming!) Anyway, we had the pleasure of hosting our very first houseguests in our new home recently: our sister-in-law, Elizabeth, and our nephew, Lucas. They and Ryan's grandma were all in town for a long weekend to celebrate Ryan's dad's birthday, and we packed the weekend full of fun family events. The first day of their visit we headed to the Sno-Park at Snoqualmie Pass for some sledding. Eli is kind of funny about the snow; he gets really excited when it snows and wants to go out and play in it, but once you actually reach the fluffy white stuff, he's suddenly timid and wants to be carried instead of walking on it. Once I finally convinced him that it was really fun to walk on the snow he was good to go (but it's really funny that we go through this process each time it snows!). We headed up to the top of the sledding hill, and Lucas wasted no time in hopping on the sled and sliding down. After watching for a few minutes and realizing what a blast Lucas was having, Eli was ready to give it a try - with Mama, that is. So, we climbed onto the sled together, and off we went. Unfortunately we hit a small bump and suddenly we were tumbling off the side of the sled together. Neither of us was hurt at all (it's not a steep hill and we didn't go far), but it scared him enough that his sledding was pretty much done for the day! Awhile later we did get him to climb back on with me at the bottom of the hill, and Pa pulled us along a few feet. Eli seemed to enjoy this, but definitely the thing Eli enjoyed doing most at the hill was pulling the sled up to the top, giving it a push down (without anyone on it), and cheering, "go sled, go!" Poor Lucas thought this was a serious waste of a trip down the hill! Eli's other favorite part of our snow day was the heavy machinery (anyone shocked?). There was some sort of modified bulldozer (yes, belive it or not, there is a piece of heavy machinery that we don't know the proper name for) flattening and smoothing the snow nearby, and every few minutes Eli would look around for it. So, despite the early tumble, Eli had a fun day in the snow!

Wednesday, January 28, 2009

Halftime entertainment

As you know, we spend a lot of time at high school basketball games. Eli spends a moderate amount of time actually watching the games, and mostly plays with whichever trains, trucks, or cars he has brought along for the evening. He usually spends halftime going for a walk with Pa, often in search of a snack! Once in awhile, though, he decides he'd like to play on the court at halftime. Last night was once such night, and little did we know, we were in for a show! Eli climbed down from the bleachers as the sound system began blaring Michael Jackson's "Beat It," and as soon as he hit the floor he began what I can only describe as a toddler version of breakdancing! It was hilarious (although, I do understand that most of you probably won't find it nearly as amusing as we do as his parents)! I think it's pretty funny that you can hear the high school kids in the background start cheering! At one point you see Eli look across the court at his audience, soon after which the show ends. :)

video

I wish I'd gotten more of it on video, as you can see I only caught the tail end. Anyway, he spent the remainder of halftime running up and down the court "playing" basketball. I may be a little biased, but I have to say it's the best halftime show I've ever seen. :)

Saturday, January 24, 2009

This precious boy

This morning while getting ready to head to the gym (don't be impressed, I'm getting there once a week at best!), I overheard this from Eli in the living room: "Zoe, come look at the Christmas cards. This one says that Jesus was born in Bethlehem and God put a special star in the sky." Talk about one of those melt-mommy's-heart moments! I was suddenly so glad we've not yet gotten around to taking down our Christmas card display. When I came back out he was still moving his finger across the printed words on the card and whispering to himself. When Ryan got home from basketball practice Eli told him that he had told Zoe about Jesus being born in a stable, and that he wanted to read his Bible for nap time. Way to melt my heart again, precious little boy! This is such a fun age in so many ways, not the least of which is seeing how much he's learning, especially about the things that matter most.

P.S. Obviously the photo has nothing to do with the post...I didn't have a photo to go with this one, so I thought I'd take the opportunity to share one of my favorite photos from his two-year-old photo shoot with Emily. Thanks, Emily!

Monday, January 5, 2009

Doggy crates

Eli loves animals, and takes very good care of both his real dog and all of his "pretend animal friends." He has a puppy that has its very own firetruck pillow/bed right next to Eli's firetruck bed, and Eli diligently makes sure that Puppy is "cozy" every night and gives him hugs every morning. Lately Eli has become very aware of how much Zoe enjoys her crate; it's really her little sanctuary and it's obvious even to Eli how much she enjoys having her own little space. So, it came as no huge surprise when he told us that he wanted to make crates for some of his other doggies. He chose two little stuffed dogs that he thought needed crates, and he and Ryan set to work on their big project. Unfortunately I didn't get many great photos of the process, but it was a pretty impressive project! Ryan brought in some scrap cardboard from the garage, they measured the dogs to see how big the crates should be, and Eli cut the tape with his prized monkey scissors. Eli decided the crates needed lots of holes just like Zoe's, and Dada used his drill to put the holes where Eli wanted them. It was such a neat father-son project, and Eli is thrilled that Little Doggy and Little Joby now have their own crates!

Thursday, January 1, 2009

Merry Christmas!

At long last, the Christmas post...
We had a wonderful first Christmas together in our new home. Really, we've had a wonderful Christmas/Advent month with all of our holiday activties, and this special day was just the icing on the cake (unfortunately not literally...I had every intention of baking a birthday cake for Jesus, but that's one thing that just didn't get done. It's on the "must do" list for next year!). Anyway, Ryan and I had a great time on Christmas Eve setting out Santa's gift to Eli and filling his stocking. We talked about how, as kids, we never would have believed that Christmas could possibly be more fun as an adult. However, it's SO much more fun now, as an adult and parent! First, there's the unmatchable joy that comes from a deeper understanding of Christmas; understanding that it's the day we celebrate the very greatest gift ever given to each and every one of us, the day we celebrate God's immeasurable love for us, poured out through the birth of Jesus Christ and His ultimate sacrifice in giving His perfect life out of mercy and love for us. I mean, WOW! Combine that with the giddy, giggly joy of being a parent picking out gifts you know your child will love and then getting to watch in jubilation as your child excitedly enjoys those gifts. And even more important, hearing your child talk about the birth of Jesus and beginning to learn what Christmas is really about. I can honestly say this was my favorite Christmas ever! An added perk was that it was definitely a white Christmas! We thought we had gotten all the snow we were going to get, but woke up to a couple of fresh inches and it continued falling throughout the day. Ryan went out and shoveled the walkway in the moring and had to go shovel it again later in preparation of our dinner guests' arrival. I got up early to make fresh cinnamon rolls for breakfast...don't be too impressed, as they weren't Ryan's grandma's "from scratch" cinnamon rolls. I took a shortcut and used Biquick, but they turned out great and were at least more "from scratch" than the canned variety I've made in years past. It was a fun activity that I think I'll continue in years to come. (This photo was taken later, when we finally sat down for breakfast).Ryan got up a little while later, and by the time he finished shoveling the walkway Eli was awake. I probably looked like a giddy little kid as I ran to the garage, baby monitor in hand, half-shouting "Eli's awake, Eli's awake!" We went up to his room to get him and then all came downstairs together to see what Santa had brought. Eli had been hoping all month that Santa would bring him Thomas' Roundhouse (aka, "the place where Thomas sleeps"), and lo-and-behold, that's exactly what Santa brought! :) Eli was really excited! After awhile we got him to open his stocking, which was filled with everything from toy zoo animals to new stamps and his first pair of scissors (monkey scissors no less) to Lightning McQueen and 'Mater socks. Our little guy was a happy camper! Later, the new giraffe and the new monkey scissors "helped" with opening presents. Opening presents was quite an adventure...an adventure that didn't end until today! Eli was so into playing with his new toys that he didn't want to move on to other gifts. I can't tell you how many times on Christmas day we asked him if he was ready to open another present and he answered, "No, want to keep playing." After the first "no," Ryan said, "He's the first kid in history to say "no" to that question!" I guess we should be glad that he showed appreciation for the things he received instead of just ripping through everything without much thought. I'm sure that day is coming eventually! Anyway, he did a really great job of opening gifts, and it was fun to watch. It was a very Thomas Christmas at our house this year. Eli received not only the Roundhouse, but also several engines and cars, tons of tracks, a collection of Thomas books, Thomas pajamas, and a subscription to the Thomas magazine! Eli spent the majority of Christmas day (and every day since then) playing trains. He is also definitely enjoying the variety of other things he received. Thank you so very much to all of our wonderful family for all of the amazing gifts! In the evening we enjoyed a wonderful dinner with Ryan's parents and grandmother. We're really enjoying hosting dinners in our new home. Unfortunately I had the camera positioned wrong, and Eli and I were cut out of the photos. Obviously next time I need to look at the pictures to make sure they turned out well! It was a truly wonderful day, and despite the fact that he'd been sick all week, Eli thoroughly enjoyed his Christmas. Here's a photo of the snowman Dada made for him in the backyard a couple of days before Christmas, since Eli was too sick to go out and build one himself. Eli did get to go outside just long enough to add the all-important carrot nose! I also have to share a couple of quiet Christmas moments...Eli enjoying some of his new books on Christmas morning... Merry Christmas everyone! May you be blessed with the joy of the Lord in the New Year!