Thursday, December 25, 2008

Merry Christmas!

Merry Christmas to you all from all of us!
We're going to be traveling for a week or 2, so I may or may not be blogging during that time. If you don't hear from me, I hope you all have a Happy New Year! God's richest blessings on you and yours.

Wednesday, December 24, 2008

Christmas Eve Hilarity

This evening, we were killing time with Elias before his last feeding of the day, and we were just playing on the floor trying to keep him entertained. I pulled off the lid to a tupperware bin that was sitting near us, and we started beating on it like a drum, which was fun. But then I started scratching on it with my fingernails, and Elias thought it was HILARIOUS!!!! I don't know if I've ever heard him laugh like that. Justin caught a snippet of it on video to share, but really this went on for at least 5 minutes.

Soooooo funny!!!

Monday, December 22, 2008

7 Months!

My baby boy turned 7 months old yesterday! I cannot believe how much he is growing and developing - he's transforming into a little person right before my eyes! There haven't been a whole lot of physical developments this month (besides the fact that I had to go out and buy 18-month onesies because the 12-months were getting snug length-wise. Are you kidding me?!), but his social and mental developments are blowing me away! He's becoming so much more interactive and able to do things! I've been posting pictures out the wazoo, so there won't be a whole lot of pics in this post in an effort to keep it a teensy bit shorter.

He still loves playing on his tummy, and he's starting to try to get up on all fours. This always results in him rolling over, since he hasn't figured out how to use his hands for balance while he gets his knees under him. You can see him working on it, though, so it won't be too much longer. He's also very close to being able to sit up unsupported. He can do a few seconds, but nothing Mommy wants to let him try alone yet!

He is rolling and spinning all over the place, though, so there isn't much that he can't reach or do now. I'm trying to just chill about him getting into stuff. I want him to be able to explore on his own and play independently, so it's just going to have to be ok if he bonks his head on the table or something. I can't be hovering over him all the time, and I don't want him to feel like he needs that. So he often has a red mark on his head from whacking it on something, but he never cries about it. The only time he cries from pain is when he smashes his fingers, either between two blocks or when he closes them into his baby laptop.

He's started reaching up for things, the precursor to pulling up and climbing, I think. He'll reach up and pull over the laundry basket or toy box. The other day he rolled over to his swing and managed to pull up the whole front half of his body into it! Silly boy. He's too big for that swing now, so we should really just put it up, but he has fun playing with it!

He's also started playing Peekaboo, which is really fun! It's actually something he started doing on his own, we think it's because he reads "Pat the Bunny" every day with Daddy, in which he plays Peekaboo with Paul. But he'll duck his head down and then raise it up fast, thrilling when somebody says "Peekaboo!" He loves it when we duck behind the table or door and play Peekaboo. Here is a video I took today of him playing Peekaboo when I hid behind a door. Sorry it's so dark - still haven't read the camera manual. :)


He also LOVES to read books, which thrills my heart. He has come to know his favorite books, which are "Pat the Bunny," "Fluffy Chick and Friends," and "Tall Book of Words." He knows what's coming and he knows what to do with the interactive books - he'll lift up the flap to find Paul when playing Peekaboo, and he'll grab the pig's curly tail in the Fluffy Chick book. He'll sit in our laps and just read a book over and over - grabbing and patting the pages.

We are still having so much fun with him, and it's a blessing to see him growing before our eyes.

Sunday, December 21, 2008

Christmas Cheer, Elf-Style

Send your own ElfYourself eCards


Many thanks to my friend, Kristy, for elfing her family and giving me the inspiration to elf my own. I laughed so hard I cried.

Picture Tag

Mollie has tagged me in picture tag!

The object of picture tag:
1. Choose the 4th folder where you store your pictures on your computer.
2. Select the 4th picture in the folder, insert it into a post.
3. Explain the picture.
4. Tag 4 people to do the same.
5. NO CHEATING (cropping, editing, etc.)

Alrighty, here goes! Fourth folder: Easter 08. Fourth picture:This was taken after our Easter lunch this year. We were in Knoxville, TN, and we ate lunch at Sonny's BBQ with Justin's family. Yum! I was about 7.5 months pregnant, and I looked huge! At least looking at the picture, I think I did... You can read my original blog post containing this picture here.

I'll tag Jessica (my sister), Ashlee, Jeannie, and Kristy!

Friday, December 19, 2008

Wildcat Fan in Training

As most of you know, my husband is a devoted fan of the Kentucky Wildcats when it comes to basketball. He can quote you any statistic about any team or player from any year since basketball was invented. I'm not exaggerating. Anyways, this means that any children we have are required to be basketball fans and root for the Cats, too. So last weekend, Elias got his first chance to watch a Kentucky game on TV with Daddy, and they both had fun!Elias doesn't have much Kentucky gear to wear at the moment, but I did put him in blue! And he did sport the cute UK socks that his Grandma (Umm, do I mean Santa? I forget...) gave him for Christmas last year - before he was even born!

Thursday, December 18, 2008

Mommy's Little "Helper"

Although he's not crawling yet, Elias is fairly mobile with his scooting and rolling. So he manages to get into whatever I'm doing most of the time. I like to say he's "helping" me fold laundry or bake cookies. So the other day I was folding his diapers when he rolled over, reached up and grabbed the laundry basket, and tipped the entire contents onto the floor! What a helper! LOL. He was having fun, though! So once I finished with the diapers, I put him in the basket, and he got a kick out of sitting in it.

Wednesday, December 17, 2008

Happy Birthday to My Sweetheart!

I just wanted to post a quick Happy Birthday to my precious husband! I am so thankful for you! It has been a privilege to know you as long as I have, to see you grow and watch you develop. I can't wait to see what God has in store for you, and I am proud to be your traveling partner through this life's journey!This year has been amazing, watching you become a father. You are more than I ever could've imagined you would be. The way you love and care for our son means so much to me that words could not even begin to express. I am so proud of you, and I love you from the bottom of my heart.
Happy birthday, my sweetie!

Monday, December 15, 2008

The Weather Outside is Frightful...

...but my precious boy is so delightful in his winter gear! Here he is wearing his fleece jacket and hat. So cute!The weather outside really is frightful, though... Of course, the rest of the nation is also getting it from what I've seen on the news. Ice storms, below zero wind chills... Um, no thanks! WHY, OH WHY, AM I NOT STILL IN TEXAS?!?!?! ;) What's really weird to me about Missouri weather is that it is so volatile! It changes drastically and rapidly from day to day. Below zero today? Not to worry, the forecast is in the 50's by Thursday. Sheesh. When I asked Elias what he thought about the weather, this is the face he made:
LOL! Me too, baby boy!

Sunday, December 14, 2008

Big Boy in the Shopping Cart!

I mentioned here that Elias is riding in the seat of shopping carts now that he has his new carseat. For the most part, he does awesome and loves riding in the carts. It's only at Walgreens that he throws a fit after he's been in the cart seat for too long... My only hypothesis is that the carts are smaller there, and so his view is lower and he doesn't like watching my belly instead of my face as we're shopping? I have no idea. Regardless, he does awesome at Wal-Mart, Aldi, and Woods, so 3 out of 4 ain't bad! I snapped some pics of him in the Walgreens cart the other day, though - before he started screaming... He was so proud of himself sitting in the cart like a big boy!

Saturday, December 13, 2008

Peeping Tom

Now that we're on a new schedule, Elias is going 4 hours between feedings, and so his waketimes are a lot longer. When we were first doing the Babywise scheduling, we were pretty closely following the suggested pattern of feeding, waketime, naptime, feeding, etc. So he used to do his whole waketime immediately after the feeding, then nap until it was time for the next feeding. However, now that there's so much time in there, he's started having waketime both before and after each nap. So he'll eat, play for about an hour, nap for 1.5 or 2 hours, and then play for another 30 minutes or so until it's time to eat again. This is all fine and working great, but the part that I think is funny is when he wakes up on his own in his crib. He is content to just play alone in his crib, sometimes I just leave him in his crib for the whole 30 minutes because he's just happy to laugh and talk to himself in there. He'll look at the trucks on his bumper, beat his hands on the mattress, play with his paci, etc. Perfectly happy by himself, which is AWESOME for me! The part that is funniest, though, is that he has started peeping up over the top of his bumper and watching the door for us to come in. He looks like this:










It's SOOO funny! When he sleeps, we mostly close the door, just leaving it open a few inches. But he'll stare right at the little crack in the door, just waiting to see Mommy or Daddy's face materialize there! I took some video the other day of him playing in his crib waiting for me to come get him. I'm sorry it's so dark, but I think you can still get the idea. I think he was thinking, "I just need to be as cute as possible, then she'll come in and pick me up!" It worked!

Friday, December 12, 2008

Some Serious Fun

Some of you may have noticed that I've posted a blog every day this week. This is because now that we have our new camera, I'm developing a major backlog of really cute pictures and videos that I don't want to just lump all together in one huge post. So I'm trying to just consistently post every day, and hopefully I'll get them all posted before they're too old. However, today I took some video that immediately got bumped up to the front of the line because it is SO HILARIOUS!

We're discovering that Elias seems to be very ticklish, just like one of his parents who shall remain nameless. He laughs whenever we touch his feet or wipe his diaper area, and he thinks blowing raspberries on his belly is just the funniest thing ever. So today when I was "getting" his toes, he started doing this hilarious scream/laugh thing that I just had to capture on film. Thankfully, he kept doing it even though he was slightly distracted by the camera set up on a chair next to him.

Then at the end of the video, he shows off his newest trick - babbling using real syllables! I am quite pleased to say that his syllable of choice is "mama!" He obviously doesn't know that means me yet, but I've heard everywhere that most babies say "dada" first, so I was thrilled when he busted this out. Sorry, Daddy.

So without further ado, here's my funny baby boy:

Bathtime!

Ever since he was born, Elias has HATED bathtime. He has screamed through baths ever since his very first sponge bath the day he was born. In fact, I have photographic proof... This is what he looked like during his first bath at home:Yeah, good times.

Anyways, now that he's 6.5 months old, he has FINALLY started to enjoy the bathtub! I think he's just finally gotten used to the bathing concept, and the fact that he's discovered splashing probably has a lot to do with it. Anyhoo, this whole post is really just an excuse to post the cutest picture on earth:
No wonder bathtime is fun when you look this cute!

Wednesday, December 10, 2008

The Power of Praying

I just wanted to pop on here really quick and post a book recommendation for any mommies, new or old, who may read my blog: The Power of a Praying Parent by Stormie Omartian.Well, I guess it's for all parents, but I'm a mommy, so I think of it as being for mommies. Either way, though, I HIGHLY recommend this! Justin found this for me at a yard sale several months ago, and I've been using it as part of my daily quiet time ever since. It has 30 chapters, each of which focus on a specific area of prayer for your child, so it is designed to be used as a daily prayer guide that takes a month to complete. The prayers are so valuable to me, though, that once I finish it, I just start right back at chapter 1 the next day. Each chapter has a 4-5 page discussion where the author talks about her experiences with her children in that area and how prayer made a difference, then she has a sample prayer, followed by about 5 Scripture verses "Weapons of Warfare" relating to the topic.

There are several things I like about this. Most importantly, it helps me to remember that Elias is in God's hands, and everything that happens to him is ordained by God. In fact, that's what Chapter 2 is about - "Releasing My Child Into God's Hands." It reaffirms my trust in God, recognizing that if there's anything I want to happen (or NOT happen) in Elias' life, it's God that has the power to make it happen (or NOT happen). There are some chapters that are more applicable than other right now, and as he grows, they will change. I may start just focusing on whatever chapter is most pertinent at the time, and the author says in the foreword that she really just intends this to be a starting place as parents learn how to specifically pray for their own children as individuals.

But the other thing that I like so much about this is that it helps me to vocalize the deepest longings that I have for Elias. The first time I went through this book, I cried just about every day as I was praying the prayers, because I so deeply wanted those things for my son. I love that it was written by a mother who wrote this out of her own experiences as she prayed her way through the childhoods of her children, who were teenagers at the time she wrote it. Some of the most meaningful chapters to me right now are: Chapter 2 "Releasing My Child Into God's Hands," Chapter 3 "Securing Protection from Harm," Chapter 4 "Feeling Loved and Accepted," Chapter 5 "Establishing an Eternal Future," Chapter 9 "Developing a Hunger for the Things of God," and Chapter 10 "Being the Person God Created."

On a side note, I also recommend The Power of a Praying Wife by the same author. (She has a whole series of books along this same vein.) When we lived in Waco, our lifegroup studied these books - the women did the Wife book and the men did the Husband book - and this book has also been so valuable to me as a wife and to our marriage. I also do a chapter from this book each morning, and I can definitely see God working in our marriage and home.

I love being able to start each day lifting up to the Father my deepest longings for my husband and child. They are in His hands, and my prayers may enable Him to work in their lives in a deeper way. May it be so!

Tuesday, December 09, 2008

Playing on the Mat

I took a little video today of Elias playing on the infamous activity mat. Sorry the video is so dark - I'm still learning how to work this thing! I'll turn on more lights next time...

video

I took this right before lunch, so he was pretty whiny... We've just moved to a new schedule, so he's still getting used to waiting longer between meals. The video still shows you how he plays now, though. You can see him using both his hands and feet to play with the toys, plus he's rolling all over the place! At the end, you can see him beating the floor with his hands and digging in the carpet - that is one of his favorite things to do. He can be surrounded by toys, and yet he prefers to just play with the carpet... Go figure.

This is a long way from the first video I ever posted of him playing on this mat! (If you want to watch that video, click this link and scroll down to the bottom.) I thought he was being so active then! LOL! And I'm sure in 6 more months I'll be able to post another video that blows this one out of the water!

Daddy's Boy

As I mentioned in a previous post, Justin is pretty proud whenever Elias wears his Jimmie Johnson NASCAR clothes. However, I think Daddy is even prouder to see his baby boy in this:The bib says "Federal Reserve Bank of St. Louis" - Daddy bought it for him when we were there last month. :)

Sunday, December 07, 2008

FREEDOOOOOOOOOOOOOM!!!!!

I just had to get on here and share that I did my last pump this morning. I'm FREE!!!! No more pumping in this house! (At least until our next child comes along... Definitely not thinking about that right now.) Thanks, all, for your encouragement and prayers as we made it through this season of our lives.

Saturday, December 06, 2008

Black Friday Loot

We did most of our Black Friday shopping online, because that's where the best deals were, and we didn't have to go out in the cold! (I did go to Wal-Mart at 5am, but just for fun - not because I wanted to get anything... I did get a couple small Christmas presents there, but I digress...) Our two big online Black Friday purchases have arrived now, and we're excited about them!

First of all, Justin's parents bought us our Christmas gift early - a new camera! I guess they got tired of the bad pictures and video I was posting on here. I can't blame them either! So now we have a great new digital camera that takes good video too! And it's tiny and a cute red. How can you beat that?! So look forward to much better pictures and videos from now on. Props go to my husband, who got up at 4am to buy this on walmart.com. That's when the sales opened, and we knew these would be gone in a snap. But he made it on there and got it! Thanks, honey!

And then later in the day, I found a great convertible carseat on sale at babycenter.com. This is one of the ones we had been wanting to get, but it was just too expensive! But the Black Friday sale put it in our price range, and now this should last Elias until he's ready to move up to a booster seat at age 4. It's a First Years True Fit, which we chose mainly because it goes all the way up to 65 pounds (unlike most carseats, which only hold 40 pounds), and at his current rate of growth, E is going to be 40 pounds LONG before he's 4 years old! We like it not only for the great technical specifications, but because it's a sassy Wildcat blue, and Elias says it's VERY comfortable! Here he is trying it out in the living room before we put it in the car:We took our first car ride in it yesterday, though, and he seemed to like it just fine! Not only is it a whole new adventure in the car, though, it means he's no longer riding in the infant carrier when we go to the store. Yesterday, he rode in a grocery store shopping cart seat for the first time, and I was VERY proud of how good he was! He sat up so well, just holding on to the handle and looking around. My BIG boy!

Wednesday, December 03, 2008

This is SO Me!

This was in a Baby Center newsletter a couple weeks ago, and it cracked me up because it is SO me!!! All you other new mamas out there know exactly what I'm talking about!

Monday, December 01, 2008

What Exactly Are We Learning Here?

Elias has a Baby Einstein Activity Mat that he has loved since he was 3 or 4 weeks old. Here's one of the first times he ever played on it:And here is one of the first smiles we ever captured on photo, aimed at one of his first friends, the duck:He absolutely loves this toy, and it's really fun to watch him grow and see the new ways he figures out to play with this thing. However, since he loves it so much and plays on it so often, I have really had a lot of time to look at it, and I'm slightly disturbed by the images on it. Let's look closer. Here is the mat itself:Cute animals, bright colors, fun times, right? Sure, but I'm slightly confused at why they had the animals look the way they do. Let's look at each one individually, and maybe someone can help me figure out what in the world is going on. In the center, we have the sun. Not exactly an animal, so the title "animal friends" doesn't seem to apply. But I don't really have a problem with the sun or the way it looks.

Four of the other animals also look normal and I don't have a problem with them. The bird is a cardinal, which was my Granny's favorite bird, looks awesome. The duck looks pretty good, assuming that the white stripe is just its markings and not supposed to be a collar. (I mean, who ever put a collar on a duck?!) The cat is wearing a collar, great. And the cow is wearing a bell, perfectly normal. (Although I'm not sure why he's standing with his hands on his hips... And what are the creepy black tumors all over him? Regardless, that could just be poor artistry, not purposeful weirdness like the ones below.)

But now we get to things that confuse me. We have a rabbit wearing a bow tie. Is this because rabbits are associated with magicians? I don't know.

Then we have an elephant wearing a fez. What? Is he a shriner? Or a circus elephant?

Even stranger is the lizard, who seems to be wearing glasses and holding a feather quill pen. (I also think his tongue hanging out is creepy, but I guess lizards do stick their tongues out in real life.)What on earth? I can think of no circumstance in which those things could be explained.

And lastly, and I think most disturbing, is the mouse. She is the only animal who is fully dressed - wearing overalls, pigtails, and a bow on her tail - and she's holding binoculars (or are they sunglasses?). Why is the mouse wearing clothes? And pigtails?! I am just mystified.

So I am just stumped as to why the artist who drew these animals made them like this. Why make some of them normal, give some of them weird props, and make one of them fully clothed? Is there something that my baby is supposed to be learning through this? I can tell you that he would never recognize a mouse in real life if this is what he thought they looked like... Anybody have any explanations for this madness?!

Sunday, November 30, 2008

Advent Conspiracy

Since we've been married, Justin and I have been trying to figure out how to make Christmas meaningful for us - what family traditions to keep, what new family traditions to start, and what we really want the season to be about for us. This seems even more important now that we have a child to raise and teach what Christmas is about. We've struggled with this, and there's still a long road ahead of us in figuring out exactly what we want to do and how. But today he posted a video on his blog that captures PERFECTLY the spirit of what we want Christmas to be about, and so I wanted to post it here too. (Check out his blog for info about how some of the statistics they use are misconstrued. Please don't let that distract you from the purpose behind it.)

Friday, November 28, 2008

Fun with Nana & GrandDad

Justin's parents came down to spend Thanksgiving with us, and we had such a fun time! Here are a few pictures from the week:
Elias showing off his reading skills with Daddy.GrandDad tried to give Elias some crawling lessons, but he was more interested in rolling.Elias liked it when Nana fed him! Notice the bib Nana gave him says "Handsome and charming." Nana knows what my baby boy is like!
His Thanksgiving bib says "I'm a little Gobbler!" Ain't that the truth!Showing off, as usual.We had a really fun time making a Thanksgiving feast together: turkey and gravy, green bean casserole, sweet potato casserole, homegrown corn, stuffing, homemade pumpkin dinner rolls, and pumpkin cheesecake!
Since we're not going to be able to make it to Kentucky for Christmas, we had a little family Christmas on Thanksgiving! All of Justin's family sent their presents up, and Elias was just showered with gifts! He got all sorts of cute clothes, which we're very thankful for - we had no idea we'd have a baby in 12-month clothes this winter!Nana and GrandDad also gave Elias his own cool gadgets, including a remote control...
...and a laptop! Now Daddy doesn't have to share his! :)

We had such a good time with you, Nana and GrandDad, and we're so thankful that you made the trip to come see us!