Thursday, December 31, 2009

Looking Back, Looking Ahead

I'm generally not one to make New Year's resolutions. If something about me needs to change, I should work on changing it now instead of once a year. However, I do think that the New Year gives a feeling of new beginnings, which is a great time for looking back, evaluating, and setting goals. I'm all for evaluating and setting goals! So here are my thoughts about what I'd like to work on in 2010.

1. Prayer Life - I am so blessed to have a husband who takes care of Elias in the mornings to allow me to have a quiet time. This year I was also blessed to be able to join a Bible study for stay-at-home moms, and we went through Breaking Free, which completely rocked my world. But having these small victories in my walk with the Lord has caused me to want more. I KNOW there is more to be had with Him, and I believe that prayer is the way to access His power in my life and in the lives of those I pray for. I want a greater hunger for Him and a closer walk with Him, and I think prayer is the way to get both of those things. Plus, with my realm being so limited because of staying home with Elias, I don't have much opportunity to get out and serve and minister and be Christ's hands to people. So I believe that prayer is how I can influence the whole world - I can be Christ's heart for people. I think it was Oswald Chambers who said, "Prayer does not fit us for the greater work; prayer is the greater work." May that be so in me. If anybody has any good suggestions for Bible studies on prayer, please feel free to let me know.

2. Giving - Having said that about prayer being the greater work, Justin and I are both feeling like we want to be better stewards of our financial resources, using them better for Christ. Our theme verse for this is James 1:27, which says "Religion that God our Father accepts as pure and faultless is this: to look after orphans and widows in their distress and to keep oneself from being polluted by the world." I want to be more aware of the helpless and hurting both here and around the world, and I want to be doing something about it in the name of Christ. Since I am the one who handles the budget in our house, I want to rearrange it so that we are able to give more to those in need both here and around the world. Justin also wrote a bit about it on his blog here.

3. Personal Appearance - I want to take more pride in my appearance and work harder at looking better. I'm not necessarily talking about losing weight here. I mean, I do need to lose weight and I will be working on that in the new year. But this is something I'm already in the process of doing, and nothing about that really needs to change - I just need to keep up the hard work! What I'm talking about here is that my child is 19-months-old, so I really don't have an excuse anymore to go around looking like the mommy of a newborn! I'm not saying I'm going to start wearing makeup or anything - let's not get crazy here. But I'm thinking maybe I could, you know, like, fix my hair or occasionally wear something besides a t-shirt. This goal also includes things like taking care of my skin and you know, actually looking in the mirror and brushing my hair before I go to the grocery store.

4. Using My Time Well - As I stated in #3, I am no longer the mommy of a newborn. I do actually have quite a bit of free time and motherhood is no longer stressful and exhausting. So I don't really have an excuse anymore (like the mommies of newborns do!) to spend all my free time on leisure - things like reading and playing games. I don't really have a specific goal for how to do this, so suggestions would be welcome, but I think my time would be better spent reading the occasional nonfiction book in addition to the fiction I so greedily consume. Or I could knit blankets and hats for the local pregnancy crisis center. Or I could write letters to missionaries. Or I could pray for them. These would all be time well spent. So this one is going to require a bit more thought and planning on my part, but getting it out here might help me keep my eye on the prize.

This list is by no means comprehensive, it's just what's on my mind tonight. My biggest goal for 2010 is just that God will have His way in and through me. I think that will involve these four things, but it may not. Either way, may He receive all glory in and through me! Amen.

Sunday, December 27, 2009

Playing in the Snow

We were surprised when our first snow of the season came overnight on Christmas Eve, so we woke up to 2-3 inches of snow on Christmas Day! Elias did see snow a little bit last year, but he wasn't big enough to play in it. So he got his first experience of frolicking in the snow this Christmas! I wasn't sure what to expect, but he LOVED it! He just ran and ran and ran! We didn't stay out long because it was REEEEEEALLY cold, but we got a few pictures and let him have the experience! Here's a video of him in the snow:

You can hear him saying "Sa, sa, sa" over and over again... We figure he was trying to say snow!

And here are a few more pics:

Saturday, December 26, 2009

Elias' Presents

Since we didn't travel to see our families for Christmas this year, we mailed our presents to each other. So I'm posting this blog for those family members who sent Elias presents so they can see the joy he had in opening them and playing with them! We tried to spread it out a bit, so we opened a couple on Christmas Eve... We wanted him to enjoy each gift instead of getting swamped with a whole bunch of things and not be able to appreciate each one.

So the first gift he opened was a Sesame Street letters toy from Grandma and Grandpa. He actually grabbed it while it was still wrapped, and it started talking! So he knew it was Elmo before he even opened it! Talk about excited. :) He didn't know quite what to do with a wrapped present, but he sure liked the toy once he got it out. Here he is opening that:

Then he got a giant lego set that Nana had bought for him when she was here in October. He doesn't quite get putting them together yet, but he sure likes tearing them apart!And of course, he loves the bag they came in. :)

On Christmas Day, the first toy he got was a Build-a-Bear frog from his cousins Patriot and Azlan! He really likes the frog, and in this picture he's making it hop... He loves it when I make it jump really high and say "Boing, boing, boing!"
Then he got a Curious George puzzle from Aunt Jessica and Uncle Matt. Elias can't appreciate this yet, but they bought it for him at FAO Schwartz in NYC! Mommy thinks that's pretty cool. :) Elias LOVES this puzzle, though, and does great with it! I was surprised at how well he can put the pieces in their places. Here he is playing with that:

And finally we have a police car with a siren from Grandma and Grandpa. Oh, what joy! He loves cars, police cars, and toys with lights and sounds. So this was a home run, Grandma! :)

This was just round one of Christmas because Justin's parents are bringing that side of the family's gifts when they visit in January!

Thank you so much to all of our dear family that sent us presents. We love you and can't wait to see you soon!

Wednesday, December 23, 2009

Merry Christmas to All!

I wanted to post the digital copy of our photo card on here to send Christmas blessings to you all since we weren't able to send most of you printed copies. I am so thankful for all of my friends and family scattered across the country, and I pray you all have a very blessed Christmas!
The text says "May the Joy of Christ Fill Your Hearts This Christmas."

I also thought I'd post the full version of each picture that was included on the card so you can see them closer, since they're pretty small on the card. My cutie pie!

Monday, December 21, 2009

Developing So Fast!

Here's a video of my precious boy counting to 20!

He gets a little lost in the mid-teens - 14 and 15 are both "dis-dis." But he actually got 16 this time, which he doesn't usually. But he nails 17-20 every time! My so smart boy!

And please don't think we're drilling him with flash cards or anything. He just picks this stuff up! He hears 1-20 on his Elmo video that he watches about twice a week, and he hears me counting the mandarin oranges that he eats at lunch. And he just picked it up from that! We about fell over when he started counting along with me!

Other things he has just picked up in the past week that completely surprised us:
- My child actually counted to 10 IN FRENCH. He got that from a little toy remote he has.
- He knows the words to "Head, Shoulders, Knees & Toes!" and can say them along with someone singing it!

Sunday, December 20, 2009

Big Boy Haircut

Elias got his first big boy haircut yesterday, by which I mean we used the clippers instead of scissors. Many of you saw on Facebook that it was rough, but we got it done! Although he hated it just as much as getting a scissor cut, at least it was faster! The only problem now is trying to use the scissors to trim around his ears. Still haven't managed to do that yet, so don't look too closely at his ears in these pictures! But look how handsome and grown up he looks with the short hair!Our method, as suggested by a friend, was to strap him in his booster seat in front of the TV with a favorite movie playing. Then Daddy held his arms away from his head while Mommy did the clipping. There was a lot of screaming, but we got the job done. I'm thinking maybe we let him watch next time Daddy gets his hair cut with the clippers so he can see that it doesn't hurt... Any thoughts on the matter? Note: We had no idea which guard to use or how long it was going to end up. This was with a #5 guard. I would like it a bit longer, but at least this way we won't have to cut it again so soon! Ha!

Friday, December 18, 2009

Great Gifts!

I have received two entirely unexpected, but entirely welcome, gifts in the past couple weeks, so I thought I'd share about them here. Today, I received this AMAZING gift from my husband!It's an ESV Study Bible. Three or four years ago, I got a compact ESV Bible as a gift, and I loved the translation so much that I have used it for my personal devotions ever since. Being a compact Bible, it's great for carrying to church, but the print is a little small for serious reading. I have looked at getting a Study Bible in this translation for a long time, but I haven't been willing to lay the money down for what one of these costs. But my sweet husband did it for me today! And I don't think I've EVER seen a Bible with this beautiful of a cover before. Didn't he do a great job picking it out?!?!?!

The second gift I received from my friend Charity when she was here over Thanksgiving. She and her husband went to San Diego on their honeymoon, and they brought me back this gift from the San Diego Zoo.It's a cute little journal with a panda on the front! Aw, that's nice. But wait... what's the fine print at the top?Made with real POO?! WHAT THE HEY????? Here's the back of the package to explain (Click to enlarge.):In case you're not up to reading all that, basically pandas eat so much bamboo and a lot of it goes undigested, so they take the poo, clean it, and recycle it into paper, which they used to make this journal. That is AWESOME! And you know she and I are good friends when she would have the courage to give me this as a gift because she knew I would LOVE it!

Thank you, Justin and Charity! I am so blessed with such loving and giving people in my life.

Wednesday, December 16, 2009

Big Boy at the Table

In the past couple weeks, Elias has become really good at climbing on and off the dining room chairs, and he loves to do it! He'll climb up and just sit there and read a book or whatever. So one day when it was snack time, I just put his bib on him and gave him his snack at the table instead of in his high chair. He did pretty well!

Right after I stopped filming this video, though, he climbed down and went to his high chair, so I guess he's not quite ready to eat at the table yet. Maybe we'll try a booster seat soon, though!

Saturday, December 12, 2009

Sorry, Grandma!

I'm thrilled to announce that after MONTHS of saying it to him, Elias has finally said a version of Grandpa! He says "Pa." Cute! He has said (Aunt) Jessica for a long time now, and in the video below, you'll hear him say (Uncle) Matt and Azlan ("Ash-ee"). He also did say Patriot ("Chut") the other day, although he doesn't in the video. Now, unfortunately, Grandma is the last one on my side of the family whose name he doesn't yet say. Sorry, Grandma! We're going to keep working on it and maybe he'll say something for you by the time you come visit at the end of the month!

We're still struggling a bit with Justin's side of the family - maybe their names are harder. He's got Nana and Granddad down, and we think he says something like "Josh," but we haven't gotten anything close to Aunt Nicole or Uncle David yet... We'll keep working on those ones too!

You'll also note that he's looking MUCH better... You can still see the red spot on the back of his neck, but that's all that's left of the hives. We have one more dose of the steroids and then we'll be good to go!

Tuesday, December 08, 2009

Lookin' Rough

Here's my buddy boy this morning (Click to enlarge.):The pics aren't great, but you can see how his eyes are red and puffy, and you can see the red welts on his neck. (And you can also see that he needs a haircut! Yikes!) His ears are looking much better today, and the hives on his trunk are mostly gone - just red but not swollen anymore. So we're making progress! Please continue to pray for a good recovery and wisdom in caring for him!

Monday, December 07, 2009

Breaking Out in Hives

I think most of you probably saw this on Facebook, but I thought I'd post a quick update on here in case anybody didn't! We learned today that Elias is allergic to amoxicillin! It kinda took us off guard since this isn't the first time he'd had that antibiotic, but the doc told us that it's not unusual for children to react the SECOND time they have a drug instead of the first. Gee, great.

This was Elias' 10th day on the amoxicillin for his ear infection - he only had 3 more doses before he was finished with it. This morning while we were out grocery shopping, I noticed that Elias' ears were really red. I thought that was odd, but I figured maybe his hat had been on too long or something. Then later when we got home, I saw that his hands were red and they felt warm. Once again, odd, but I didn't know if that meant anything. He was acting fine, so I didn't worry. (Note for any of you who are shouting that this is obviously an allergic reaction - I've never had an allergic reaction to anything... No food or drug allergies... I've never even had poison ivy! So this is all new territory for me.) The only unusual thing about our day was that he woke up very early from his nap, but he wasn't fussy or acting like he didn't feel well.

Later when Justin got home, I asked him if he thought that Elias' red ears meant anything. So then we got to talking about his red hands, and Justin suggested it might be a reaction to the medicine. (Justin is allergic to penicillin himself, so he knows all about this.) Then when we pulled up Elias' sleeves for dinner, we saw that the redness had spread all up his arms, and there were obvious hives on his arms. This child was having an allergic reaction. Justin wasn't near as freaked out as I was, since he's survived this scenario before, but we decided to take him to the local walk-in clinic to be looked at just in case.

So we loaded up after dinner and had the doctor look at him. By the time she saw him, the hives had spread all over his body, he looked so pathetic! (It never occurred to me to take a pic. If he still has the hives tomorrow, I'll capture it for posterity.) So she prescribed prednisone for him just to help his body recover quickly, and she said benadryl will help with the swelling and maybe counteract the way the steriod might keep him awake. So my poor buddy. Welcome to the world of moms with kids who have allergies! I think it wasn't near as scary as an allergic reaction could've been, for which I am THANKFUL!

Friday, December 04, 2009

Master of Destruction

I wrote this blog post about Hurricane Elias a month or so ago to show you about the destruction Elias leaves behind him when he's playing. However, that picture really just indicated a mess, so I'm posting something else because he really does DESTROY things, not just make a mess. The usual victims of his terror are books. He is SO HARD on books! Let me show you his most recent victims:In case it's not clear what you're seeing, I'll narrate. On the upper left is a board book that he ripped a page out of. On the bottom left, he actually ripped a small board book completely in half. The top and bottom right are lift-the-flap books that he shredded... He doesn't just tear out the flaps, he completely destroys the page. This is what happens when we let him play unattended. Whenever I catch him, I try to teach him about being gentle with books, but it clearly isn't sinking in yet...

I'm actually a little concerned about this, so I'm hoping maybe you all can give me some thoughts. The reason I'm worried is that a lot of our books are hand-me-downs from his cousins, so that means they survived the toddlerhoods of other boys completely intact. This makes me feel like it's just my child who destroys books. I know that he's not trying to destroy them. He's just curious about how they work and so he tests, tries, pulls, and discovers that pieces can be ripped, bent, stretched, etc. I know it's a learning process and eventually he'll learn to be gentle with books. I guess I need to just be thankful that he loves books, even if this love isn't the kind I'd like to be on the receiving end of! But if anybody has any assurances or advice for me, I'd appreciate it!

Wednesday, December 02, 2009

Our Thanksgiving - Picture Heavy!

We had such a fun Thanksgiving this year! Justin got the whole week off work, so that's already a bonus, and we REALLY enjoyed having Daddy home so much! We decided that this year we're not going to travel for any holidays. Making the 8-12 hour drives and staying in other people's homes is hard enough, but we have an energetic and spirited toddler on our hands, and we just didn't think it was a good idea this year. So instead of spending Thanksgiving with family this year, we were blessed to be able to spend it with friends! My dear friend Charity and her new husband, Ndolembai, drove up from Texas to spend the weekend with us! She's the only one who thought to pull out her camera and document the time for us, so all of these pictures are courtesy of her. Unfortunately, since she was the photographer, all I have of her are a couple self-portraits... Don't hate me for posting them, Charity!

The happy newlywedsThey arrived just after lunch on Thanksgiving Day, so then Charity and I spent the afternoon cooking and we had Thanksgiving Dinner together. Here's me with the turkey.And the man of the house carving it up!We had quite a spread! Turkey, Crockpot Maple Glazed Ham, sweet potato casserole, green bean casserole, and Butternut Squash and Cheese Panade (a fancy schmancy recipe for stuffing that I found in a magazine... It was DELICIOUS!). Then we had carrot cake (with homemade cream cheese icing) and apple oat crisp for dessert! Elias REALLY liked Charity's sweet potato casserole! (He's actually saying "Yummyyyyyyyy!" in this picture.)
This was the first time Charity had ever been able to meet Elias, and she took some really cute pictures of him!Charity and Ndolembai live near Dallas and so they're big Cowboys fans... I think they converted Elias!They also brought him a cute little football outfit as a gift, and it fits great! Here he is modeling it for us.
Then Charity, Ndolembai, and I got up EARLY on Friday morning to snag some deals at WalMart. This is what Charity and I look like BEFORE the crack of dawn. The Texans were surprised to have to scrape the windows before we could go! Charity took a picture of the car clock to prove what time we were headed to WalMart. Yep, that says 4:54. AM.

We also drove to Springfield later in the day and did some more shopping there... We got some great bargains and had lots of fun together!

It had been over 3 years since I had been able to spend time with Charity, and so it was such a blessing to be able to share this holiday with her and Ndolembai! I am so thankful for their friendship!

Saturday, November 28, 2009

Teething: Bad News and Good News

Well, when it comes to the unending teething that's been going on at our house, I have good news and bad news. I'll start with the bad news: ear infection. I'm actually surprised he hasn't had one sooner since he's been teething for so long with all the runny nose going on. But since we were expecting it, we recognized the symptoms right away and took him to the walk-in clinic this morning. She said both of his ears are plugged, but only one is infected yet - we caught it before the other one got infected. So, we're starting the antibiotics and hopefully he'll be back to 100% in no time.

The GOOD news, however, is that 3 of the 4 incisors have FINALLY broken through! I bet #4 will be any minute now too. So once we shake this ear infection, we should be good to go until the 2-year molars! Praise God!!!

Monday, November 23, 2009

18 Months!

I can't believe my big boy is already a full year-and-a-half old! He grows more precious every day, and I mean it. He is so active and ornery, this is the only nice picture we got from our 18-month photo shoot last week. We got some other cute funny-face ones which will be on our Christmas card, so some of you can keep an eye in the mail for those in December.

He's STILL teething - he's been working on his incisors for two full months now, and they're STILL not in! Here he is chewing on the prop at his 18-month photo shoot. The tooth bumps get larger and larger, though, so hopefully we'll have a breakthrough soon!

I waited a couple days to post this update so that I could post his stats from our well visit today.
Weight: 33 lbs, 8 oz (>95%)
Height: 35" (95%)
Head: 19.25" (75%)
So as you can see, he remains large and in charge. I thought this picture I took last week did a good job of demonstrating how tall he his. Poor guy can't even sleep sideways in his crib anymore without his legs dangling out of it!

His vocabulary has absolutely EXPLODED this month. I thought about trying to compile a list of words he could say to post here, but seriously, there are too many to count! He's blowing us away with the way he's starting to communicate verbally. It's awesome!

He's also learning and picking up things so fast! Seriously, this child can count to 10! (Well, he can count from 2 to 10. He has yet to say the number 1.) This video was taken when he first started doing it a few weeks ago, so his numbers are much more intelligible now. But seriously!

I didn't crop off the end of this video because if you hang on until the very end, you can catch him saying the words "All done" along with the sign when he's done with his meal. So big! *Edit: Upon viewing the video after I published the blog, it seems like "Done" got cut off in the uploading. So you just have an extra 9 seconds of looking at my cute boy. You're welcome.

He just in the past couple of days showed us that he has started learning his letters! We were bowled over. He has a little magnetic alphabet set on the refrigerator, and the other day he pulled off the letter F and said, "F." I was like "WHAT?!?!" So I asked him "What letter is this?" and he said "F." No way. Since then, we've discovered that he also knows T, and he sometimes gets S and Z. For real. That's like... reading.

His play has started to become more creative and imaginative. Instead of just holding the car upside down and spinning its wheels, he'll actually scoot it across the floor and say "Vroom." Here he is playing with a little kitchen set I got him.He gets a big kick out of it when I hold the little frying pan over the stove and say "Sizzle, sizzle, sizzle!"

So he is just a laugh a minute, and he's such a loveable, sweet boy! We remain proud of him and are astonished at not only how big, but how grown up he is! Definitely not a baby anymore.

Sunday, November 22, 2009

One Point!

Just had to share this one. Justin and I have been facing off against each other in Fantasy Nascar all year, and he has had the lead for the majority of the season. The final race was today, and I started it behind Justin by 53 points. In today's race, I got 54 more than him. Yep, I won by ONE POINT! (Click the image to see a screen shot of our final scores.)Absolutely unbelievable! I hope my luck is this good in fantasy football!

Thursday, November 19, 2009

Grease is the Word

Now that Elias is starting to grow some hair, he is enthralled with it. He's always twirling it in his fingers, and he seems to have a new obsession with grabbing my hair too. Unfortunately, the time he most enjoys grabbing his hair is during mealtimes when his hands are all sticky and greasy and nasty. So instead of just having to wipe his hands and face after a meal, we have to wipe his whole head!On this particular night, we were eating couscous, so it got all over and was really hard to get out of his hair! Oh, for the days when he can use a spoon!!

If you're not using a reader to view my blog, make sure to scroll down - I've done 4 posts today! Trying to catch up! :)

GrandDad's Tractor

When Nana came to visit a few weeks ago, she brought Elias a toy John Deere tractor. He loves it and learned the word "tractor" when she gave it to him. We told him that GrandDad has a tractor, and now whenever he's playing with his tractor, we can hear him jabbering about "Yaya," which is his word for GrandDad. And when you ask him who drives a tractor or who is driving a tractor in a book, he'll always respond with "Yaya!"

Bucket Head

Elias has a little toy bucket that has Optimus Prime on it, and Daddy showed him how to wear it as a hat. So since then he always dumps the toys out and puts it on his head and calls it "hat." Goofy.He also thinks it's really funny to put it on Daddy's head.My two silly boys!

Ta Da!

It is positively shameful how behind I am in blogging. My deepest apologies to the friends and family who use this blog to keep up with us and how Elias is growing! I'm not going to try to post all the videos and pictures from the past MONTH that I haven't been doing a good job of keeping up, but I'll just post a few highlights. Then stay tuned for our 18-month update this weekend!

About a month ago, Elias randomly started doing this big flourish whenever he would take his fork or hand out of his mouth after feeding himself. So I would say "Ta da!" whenever he did that, and he just thought it was hilarious! And he'd start to say "Ta!" on his own. Cute!

Wednesday, November 04, 2009

So Handsome

Nana snapped this picture of Elias in the front yard when she was here a couple weeks ago, and I think it is just SO GOOD! Who needs professional photographers when you've got grandmothers??? Thanks, Nana!

Tuesday, November 03, 2009


My little guy is just growing like crazy and he's getting really tall! With the increased height comes his ability to start climbing on things, and that's now his new obsession. He tries putting his knees on everything to see if he can reach and then climb. Here he is climbing into our entertainment center: (That was soon nipped in the bud, but it was too hilarious not to capture on photo first!)

He also has a little Winnie the Pooh activity table that he is finally just tall enough to climb on, so he tries that one often too. His favorite climbing gym, though, is the couch. (Check out how proud of himself he is in this picture!)He loves to climb on and off the couch, rearrange the pillows, and use them as aids for further climbing. He pushes up the couch cushions to give himself a little lower place to climb up to. Whenever he does that, we say he's in his "spot." Here is a sample video of what he does on the couch. What a goof!

If you remember the disastrous living room from my last blog post, this is that same day - the video shows a bit of how it got that way!

You'll notice that he has pulled one of the couch cushions completely off and put it on the floor in front of the couch. He does this so that he can then stand on it and get an extra inch or two to be able to climb onto the coffee table. Sigh. We even caught him once climbing over the arm of the couch onto the end table! Yep, I'm definitely going to have one of those fearless boys who's not afraid to try anything. I'm definitely going to have to be a praying mommy that he'll survive the early years!!!

Friday, October 30, 2009

Hurricane Elias

I just had to share this - thought many of you mommies of toddlers could relate. This is what my living room looked like moments ago before I put Elias down for his nap (Click to enlarge.):What on earth happened in here? A freak indoor tornado? A burglar who was searching for our valuables? Nope, it was just Hurricane Elias, my toddler whirlwind. Cleaning up is the next thing on my list to teach him!

Wednesday, October 28, 2009

For Grandma

When Elias and I visited my family in Ohio back in August, his Grandma taught him how to say "Mm-mm-mmmmm!" when he's eating something tasty. Well, he's still doing it! He usually only says "Mm-mm" but occasionally he gets the "mmmmmmm" at the end. Either way, it's cute and we think of Grandma every time!

Monday, October 26, 2009

Whirlwind Wedding Weekend

I just got back from a whirlwind weekend in Texas for the wedding of my best friend, Charity. (We were missionaries in Africa together, and she was the maid of honor at my wedding. I thought that might help some of you know who I'm talking about!) It was an AWESOME weekend, and the wedding was PERFECT! I am so thankful to have been able to go! I'll just post this pic, since Charity hasn't posted her own yet and I don't want to steal her thunder. But I'll just post this one to show how beautiful she was and how perfect the ceremony was!!!!! (Photo courtesy of Margaret Allen)Congratulations to Mr. & Mrs. Njesada!

Justin and Elias stayed home when I went, so Nana (Justin's mom) drove down to stay with them and keep Elias while Justin was at work. From what I hear, they had an incredible weekend and I'm so thankful Elias was well-behaved for Nana! I couldn't believe how much he had grown and developed even just in the 4 days I was gone! Such a big, smart, sweet, and handsome boy. I'll be posting more pictures and videos soon to catch you up with all that he's doing these days, so stay tuned!

Thursday, October 15, 2009

Shape Shenanigans

I mentioned in our 15-month post that Elias had learned to recognize the shapes and push the buttons on his little toy computer on command. Well, I'm finally getting around to posting a video of that! He lost interest after pushing only 3 of them, but you get the idea...

A more recent talent he has developed is being able to correctly use his shape sorter! I'm very proud of him for being able to do this.

My little smartypants!

Tuesday, October 13, 2009


The first few times Elias ever saw bubbles, he didn't care in the slightest. He was always like "So what?" But then one day a couple weeks ago, I was blowing bubbles with him at home, and it just clicked! He laughed and tried to grab and pop them, and he even said "Bubbles!" very clearly! So here's a video of that day. He has loved them ever since!

If you watch it all the way to the end, you can also see his good use of the sign for "Please," which is pretty new in his signing vocabulary.

Eating with a Fork

This video is a couple weeks old, but I keep forgetting to post it! We're trying to teach Elias to eat with utensils, and he's actually not doing too bad with a fork! He still loses the food off of spoons, but since the food stays on the fork, he does a great job getting it into his mouth. He has only been able to get the food on it himself once or twice, but it's still progress! He actually really loves eating with a fork, and we can often get him to eat food he doesn't like by putting it on a fork. I hope THAT continues!

Note the tiny little fork that came in a set his Nana and GrandDad gave him for his first birthday. Cute! You can also see his good use of the sign for "More." He does it with his right fist closed and left hand open.

Tuesday, October 06, 2009

Be Careful Little Feet

God is working on teaching me something right now, and my thoughts aren't fully formed about it yet, but I want to get it out there all the same. Most of the time writing about something helps me organize my thoughts about it, so you all are lucky enough to be able to be the recipients of my ramblings on the matter.

I'm currently participating in Beth Moore's Breaking Free Bible study with a group of young moms in my area. This is a powerful, powerful study, and I recommend it to anybody whether you feel like you have areas of bondage in your life or not. This week's focus has been on looking back in our families to see what kinds of bondage may have been passed down to us from generations and generations of our families. One of the main Scriptures she uses this week is Exodus 20:5-6.
You shall not bow down to them [idols] or worship them; for I, the LORD your God, am a jealous God, punishing the children for the sin of the fathers to the third and fourth generation of those who hate me, but showing love to a thousand [generations] of those who love me and keep my commandments.
This verse doesn't mean that we have to pay for our ancestors' sins - Christ did that on the cross. Instead, this means that we often have to bear the natural consequences of generational sins, and we are often more susceptible to repeat the mistakes we saw in those who came before us. Don't get so caught up in verse 5, though, that you miss verse 6. The descendants of the wicked often reap painful consequences, but the descendants of the faithful are guaranteed to reap blessing for a thousand generations! So not only do I want to look back at my ancestors to see if I may have inherited any bondage that I wasn't aware of, but the thing that really took hold of me about this concept this week is to be aware of the legacy I'm leaving for my children, grandchildren, great-grandchildren, etc. Do I want to be the means by which suffering is inflicted on 3 or 4 future generations, or do I instead want to be the means by which blessing is passed on to thousands?

God has given this all a very personal application for me, though, in thinking about my own struggles and areas of bondage, and thinking about the effect it will have on Elias and any other children/grands/greats/etc. I have been struggling a lot with shortcomings, difficulties, and failures for the past couple of years, and I often get discouraged. I struggle with making the right choices every day and with maintaining hope that God can and will deliver me from this bondage. I am often tempted to think that the little choices I make every day don't really matter, won't make a difference in the grand scheme of things. Or probably a better way to put it is just that I get tired of fighting day in and day out to make the best choices, when I don't feel like I'm making any progress or don't feel like there's any reward for doing what's right.

But there's a Casting Crowns song called "Slow Fade," which has always been meaningful to me, but this week has taken an even deeper meaning in the context of breaking my own bondage in order to not pass it down to Elias. You can watch the video here and read the lyrics here. This week it has seemed to come on the radio every time I get in the car, so if you see me driving down the street bawling, that's probably why. The chorus goes like this:
It's a slow fade when you give yourself away.
It's a slow fade when black and white have turned to gray.
Thoughts invade, choices are made, a price will be paid
When you give yourself away.
People never crumble in a day.
It's a slow fade, it's a slow fade.
So the meaning that this takes for me is just that every choice I make is either one step closer to freedom or one step deeper in bondage. There are very few neutral choices. So when I'm tempted to just stop fighting "just this once," I need to remember that just this one compromise is the first step down a path I don't want to walk down myself, and that I definitely don't want to lead my son down. The first verse of the song says this:
Be careful little feet where you go,
For it's the little feet behind you that are sure to follow.
Oh, I want to lead those little feet behind me down the path of God's Truth to freedom and nowhere else. So I will fight. And keep fighting. Because I do not want to see my children struggling in my same prisons. I want to be the means by which they are able to live in great blessing, freedom, and power from the Lord.

Saturday, October 03, 2009

Pumpkin Patch

We went to a pumpkin patch with our church small group last night, and we had a great time! Elias loved playing on the playground and crawling around in the hay and dirt, and we got some really cute pictures! Enjoy!