Monday, November 22, 2010

Box = Fun

I got a big Pampered Chef delivery a couple weeks ago, and we realized that the box was Elias-sized! So once I got all my stuff out of it, I put it out for Elias to play in, and he loved it!For some reason, he likes to call it his "castle," and he also likes to put it over his head and play peek-a-boo. Big fun in a big box! In the video below, he's pretending he's Iggy the Iguana from one of his Diego shows, and he's "hibernating" in the box. Although it sounds like my idea in the video, he thought of it on his own first...

Sunday, November 21, 2010


Today my precious boy is exactly two-and-a-half years old! He is such a joy and delight! I wanted to take an official 2 1/2 picture, but I couldn't get him to sit still. So I held him in my lap and took a self-portrait, and I think it's really cute! I've been so curious to see how he's growing, but I've been making myself wait until this milestone to take measurements. So my very approximate measurements of Elias at 2 1/2 are below.

Weight: 41 lbs.
Height: 39.5"

In other words, still huge. (On growth charts, his height is above the 99th percentile, and his weight isn't even on the chart.) :) He is also still so smart, and we remain exceptionally proud of him! Some other noteworthy things about him at 2 1/2:

- He is still a HUGE eater. The doctor has been telling us for a full year that his appetite will be decreasing anytime now... and we're still waiting for that to happen. Some days he eats more than Justin! I cringe to think about trying to feed this child as a teenager.
- He is also still not a picky eater. He eats almost everything we put in front of him, for which I am extremely thankful.
- He knows all his numbers and letters, and he can read them all too. He's beginning to learn phonics, for which I completely thank Super Why.
- He can count to 50, and he's learning the upper half of 100 now too. He also knows some counting in French and Spanish, and he knows quite a few words in Spanish too, for which I thank Diego.
- He still loves to read. Other favorite things to do are: watch TV, play with trains, work puzzles, build towers with large lego-type blocks, and roughhouse with Daddy.
- He can roll his tongue like his mommy!
- He only naps about 4 days a week, but even on days he doesn't nap, he stays in his room and rests on his bed for most of the time.
- He is a great night sleeper, going to bed at 8pm (How quickly he falls asleep depends on whether or not he napped that day) and getting up at 7am.
- His language is very good, and we're thankful that he's able communicate a lot of what he wants. Generally his only meltdowns are when he's tired and not thinking clearly.
- He has absolutely no interest in using the potty, although he enjoys sitting on it every day and reading his "Potty Time with Elmo" book.

Hmm. That's all I can think of at the moment. I'll add more as I think of them! I'm also compiling a list of Elias-isms, which is cute things he says, and I'll post that another time. All in all, I am so thankful and proud of our precious blessing, and I still maintain my claim that motherhood just gets more and more fun!

Thursday, November 18, 2010

Thoughts on Airport Security

If you've seen some of my tweets recently, you'll know that I'm pretty upset about the new security screening measures that have been implemented at US airports in the past few weeks. For those of you who haven't seen the news about them, they are implementing two different new screening techniques. Like the previous security techniques, not everyone will have to go through these, but random passengers will be flagged for extra screening. In the past, that meant the flagged passengers would be checked with a hand-held metal detector, and sometimes a cursory pat-down. Now, however, the flagged passenger will have two options. They either need to go into an Advanced Imaging machine, which is a full-body x-ray that allows the security personnel to see under all their clothes and make sure nothing is hidden there. If they opt out of the x-ray machine, they will be subjected to an "enhanced pat-down," which involves the security personnel touching every part of their body. Every. Part. Here is a CNN article that summarizes a lot of the current debate.

I have several objections to these new measures, and I'm outlining them below:

1. Radiation = Potential Physical Health Risk
This is actually my weakest argument, so it might be strange that I'm listing it first... There's a method to my madness, so keep reading! If a person is flagged for extra security, they will be directed to the Advanced Imaging machine, which uses x-rays to allow security personnel to look under a person's clothes and see if they're hiding any dangerous items. There is obviously a privacy issue here, because this basically amounts to having a stranger scrutinize a picture of your naked body. However, I am also concerned about the radiation a person will receive in one of these machines. This is the TSA's website describing the x-ray machines and claiming their complete safety. This is a letter from the science faculty at UCSF expressing concern on this front, and I think it brings up some valid points. This is the responding letter from the FDA, which they claim answers all of the concerns from the first letter. I'm not a physicist or whatever you'd need to be to know the jargon, so I didn't understand much of the second letter, but I believe their claims that it answers the questions. However, it's common knowledge that too much radiation is harmful to the human body. So I would still be afraid for frequent travelers or people whose bodies are already weakened by age or illness - I'm just not convinced that it's completely safe for long-term use. Two major pilot's unions have also advised their airline personnel to avoid these machines, because pilots and airline personnel would definitely be the ones with most frequent exposure to them. That makes me nervous about their safety.

2. Personal Violation = Mental Health Risk
The people that choose not to go through one of the Advanced Imaging Machines, however, will be submitted to an "enhanced pat-down," which from reports I've seen amount to nothing less than sexual molestation. Here is one woman's account of her seriously disturbing encounter with airport security. She found it so traumatic that she is requesting the TSA to provide her with counseling services to deal with the emotional aftermath of the encounter. I saw on the news the story of one pilot who was so emotionally shaken after his physical violation at the security checkpoint, that he was no longer fit to fly his airplane. This is SERIOUSLY not ok.

3. Probability is Miniscule
I watch the news almost every night, so I consider myself fairly well-informed about the goings-on in threats to US air travel safety. To my knowledge there has only been one person who has ever made it onto a plane with an incendiary device hidden in private places - last year's Christmas Day Underwear Bomber. If there have been others, the security system that was already in place was sufficient to discover them. So is it really worth it to risk the physical and emotional health of millions of travelers as outlined in my first two points, not to mention completely violating their personal privacy, on the off chance that someone else may try something similar??

4. Won't Find Everything
I don't really know exactly where the Underwear Bomber was keeping his weapons, but I'm not convinced that even the new enhanced security measures would've found them. Neither the Advanced Imaging Technology nor the enhanced pat-downs would find something that a person is hiding inside a body cavity. Plus, not every passenger will be selected for the enhanced screening. PLUS, not every security line at every airport is equipped with the technology to do the advanced screenings. So the chances still seem like one-in-a-million that even the new enhanced measures would actually catch a would-be attacker.

5. Terrorists Still Win
This is what I feel is my most compelling argument against these enhanced security measures. I believe that a terrorist's chief aim is not death and destruction, but fear. Hence the name TERRORist. With these enhanced security measures, the TSA has made me exceedingly more afraid to fly than I ever was with the threat of a terrorist attack. And there are thousands of citizens who feel the same way I do about it, and are refusing to fly until the enhanced security measures are reversed. I know I certainly won't be flying unless there is absolutely no way it can be avoided. So since I, and thousands of others like me, am now afraid to fly, and our transportation opportunities are severely disrupted, and our airline industry will definitely suffer, and our freedoms and rights as American citizens are threatened, doesn't this just mean the terrorists still win? Seems like it to me.

I don't want to just complain about the current situation without offering a reasonable alternative. To me it makes a whole lot more sense to equip aircraft personnel to be able to handle any threats on their planes than to try to thoroughly screen every single passenger to prevent threats from coming on a plane. Not that the above "enhanced" measures even come close to doing this. But even if they did, they still involve traumatizing and violating a large number of ordinary citizens, almost all of which are completely innocent. So instead I say they need to seriously beef up the air marshal program, and why not have at least one air marshal on every single flight? And also, why not take advantage of the airline personnel that are already on the flight? Train pilots and flight attendants in awareness and defense. This is how the Underwear Bomber was foiled, and it just makes plain sense to me.

Monday, November 15, 2010

Big Fun with Daddy

I had a friend ask me today whether Elias was a Mommy's Boy or a Daddy's Boy, and I really didn't have an answer for her. He's both! Elias spends so much time with both of us and seems to enjoy us both so much! He has to spend time with me by default, since I'm the one keeping him all day, but Justin does a REALLY great job of making sure to spend time with Elias and make sure Elias knows he loves him. He's such a great dad! One thing Daddy definitely does more than Mommy is physical play. Elias is just too heavy for me to be able to carry or throw him around! So Elias will ask me to "Go faster" (run around the room crazily while holding him) or "Swing" (swing him up to the ceiling) or "Go up and down" (do pushups while letting Elias lean on my back), and I have to tell him no - those are Daddy's games! Another fun thing Daddy has started doing recently is letting Elias ride on his shoulders!Elias will run up to Justin and say "Daddy's shoulders, please!" and that means he wants to go for a ride. So sweet!

A few weeks ago, we got a package in the mail from Nana & Granddad that included a cute little collapsible frisbee. Elias LOVES it! So here is a video of him playing frisbee with Daddy.

He doesn't quite have the hang of throwing it yet, but he sure likes chasing it!

So my boys are so precious together, and I'm so thankful that Elias has a loving Daddy who spends so much time with him!!

Sunday, November 14, 2010

Too Cool for School

If you clicked over to the link I posted for Justin's recent blog about Elias, then you've already seen this picture. But I couldn't resist posting it here too!For the first two years of his life, Elias REFUSED to wear sunglasses or anything else on or near his face. But then we had that trip to the gym where we played racquetball with some friends, and Elias had to wear goggles for that. So once he crossed that hurdle of consenting to wearing something on his face, he has LOVED wearing his sunglasses ever since! He'll ask for them whenever we're riding in the car on a sunny day. And he looks so handsome in them too!

Saturday, November 13, 2010

Character Impersonations

Elias loves to quote scenes from his favorite shows, and he has started using different voices for the different characters! In the video below, I'm trying to get him to quote a scene from one of his Thomas & Friends shows where Buster the Steamroller is needed urgently at a job on a soccer field. He arrives at the field to discover he's needed because the field is full of molehills. So he exclaims, "Yay! Molehills! It's like a chocolate chip cookie, but green!" I don't usually have to prompt Elias to say the whole line, but he never performs for the camera... :) I think you still get the idea of the funny voice he uses for Buster.

Justin's Daddy Thoughts

You know that I have been seriously slacking on posting updates about what Elias is doing, and so I'm thankful that Justin was inspired yesterday to write a really great summary of what it's like to be Elias' dad right now! I'm definitely working on videos and pics from the recent months, so stay tuned for those, but in the meantime, read this to hear Justin's perspective!

Friday, November 12, 2010

Grandma's Book

I was browsing through our recent pictures to see what needed to be posted on here, and I discovered these from months ago that I had promised my mom I would post. Sorry for leaving you hanging, Mom!
My mom sent Elias a book that is so cool because it actually recorded her reading it, so all he has to do is turn the pages, and he can hear Grandma reading him the story! I think that is so precious!!! I love listening to it, too, just because I like hearing my mom's voice! And the book itself is really cute. It's called "Thank You, God, for Everything!" Here is a brief video of him reading it and turning the pages:

He has pretty much the whole thing memorized, and the funniest part is that he even memorized the title page and Grandma's message to him. So he'll walk around saying "Thank You, God, for Everything. A gift for Elias, read to you by Grandma. I love you!" How cute is that?!

Tuesday, November 09, 2010

Hear Me R04R

Some of you may have noticed that I seem to have completely abandoned my blog. Well, that's not really intentional... It's mostly just a combination of being busy and lazy. I definitely still see value in posting on here to help keep our far away loved ones updated on how Elias is growing, and I do intend to keep doing that! It's just not high on my priority list right now, and I apologize to the grandmas who are pining for another E video!

One thing that has pushed blogging even further down my priority list is that I've started a new work-at-home job! My brother-in-law started a business called R04R (pronounced "roar") that makes affordable Android and iPhone apps for churches and ministries, and he has hired me to be their Social Media Representative. That means that I manage their Twitter and Facebook accounts and their blog. It's been about 3 weeks now, and it's going well, so I thought I'd let everybody know! It's not very time-intensive, but it's still another thing that I do in a day that keeps me from making the time for my personal blog.

It's a great business, though, that provides a really valuable service for Christian organizations! So come check us out, especially if you're in any kind of church leadership - and pass on the word about us too!

Our website: - Click the Blog tab to read the blog!
Our Twitter page:!/r04r
Our Facebook page:

Tuesday, November 02, 2010

For Jessica

My sister wrote me an email yesterday about how I should appreciate the time I have with my little guy while he is little. Her boys have recently started going to all day school, and she went back to work, so I know she has to be missing all that special time she had with her little boys when they were little and she was staying home with them. I have recently been thinking along the same lines - I know this time in Elias' life will be fleeting, and I never know when our circumstances might change. So I've been trying to be intentional about actually engaging to sit down and play with him during the day, and I've recently resolved to have him watch less TV during the day and play with him more. So Jessica's email just added to that resolve. And in her email, she also suggested to have a little extra patience with my little one today, and do something special with him.

So in honor of Jessica, we did something fun. A mommy blog that I read suggested today to try pudding painting with little guys, since they often will eat finger paint. We didn't have any pudding on hand, so we tried it with applesauce!The applesauce ended up not being a very good medium for painting, but we did draw some shapes in it. (I thought later that we should've tried it with yogurt. Ah well, next time.) And we had fun, which was the point! So thank you, Aunt Jessica!

And also for Jessica, I'm trying valiantly to be patient with my child who is refusing to nap AGAIN, which he does most of the time these days.

And also for Jessica, I'm trying valiantly to be patient with my child who hasn't used the potty again since the one time I posted about it weeks ago.

Man! Elias doesn't even KNOW how what a debt he owes Aunt Jessica today!!!

Note - I'm not really stressed out about the potty. It's just another thing I'm being patient about, and I wanted to update you all on the fact that it looks like we are NOT potty training after all. Currently I'm in the school of thought that says "He'll do it when he's ready." Ask me again in a year. But I am pretty stressed out about the nap strike. :(