Sunday, January 31, 2010

Joys of sharing

Hmmm...what is going on in this picture?


Sharing! Thats right! And these days it is hard to come by, unless it is on Elem's terms. Toddler 2's are not so well known for the days of sharing, but Elem is working through it. And I believe we are seeing a light at the end of the tunnel. We have been going through a couple of months of screaming, and yanking, and inevitable tears, when it comes to sharing with our friends. But we have also been seeing some major maturity when it is on Elem's terms. If he is the one in control it could go either way. Sometimes he is seriously sweet and ready to be the bigger id and share no matter what. Then other days, he thinks everything is his, even if he doesn't even like the toy or has never even seen it! hahah! So sharing a couple of licks of ice cream sandwich with Sage after taking a bath seems reasonable in the moment. :) And yes he continued to give her a lick, and then him a lick, her a lick, and then him a lick. Oh well, at least he is sharing and enjoying every minute of it! Share away little dude, thats what we like to see around this house!

Saturday, January 30, 2010

Best Friends Forever

BFFS: Canaan and Elem

I still feel just as lucky as I did the day I started my job at Our House, to be able to bring Elem to school with me each and every day. It is a really sureal feeling knowing that I am never too far away from him, and knowing that I am responsible for his lesson plans, discipline, etc. any time I feel the need to step in. Now it does have its down sides as well, for example, no teacher wanting to send him to time out or speak serious to him for fear of me not approving, but it also has the awesome pluses-one of favorites, being the chance to see him make new friends and develop great relationships all by himself. Without me coordinating it, or having him play with someone by force.

For as long as I can remember Elem has named Canaan his Best Friend. Canaan's actually goes to Head Start during the morning hours and then ends up at the shelter for the afternoon. So Elem is always dissapointed when Canaan is not there when we arrive bright and early, but he is always super enthused when he wakes up from his nap to find Canaan there ready to play some basketball or footballl or right bikes! Canaan is always bringing Elem some sort of toy from his house, and letting Elem borrow it for the night or for the weekend and it is so sweet to see their interaction. Canaan is actually 5 years old, but he and Elem get along great, and they have been together for all 2 and 1/2 years of Elem's life, so Elem really doesn know any difference in regards to the age. He for sure hangs right in there with Canaan no matter how rough they are playing or how fast they are running. He wants to play with his BFF no matter what! I snapped some pics of the boys playing together this morning at school, because Canaan made a rare appearance for the whole day and Elem was super excited and it was just too sweet to see them never leave each other's side!

Before they headed out to ride bikes I caught Canaan trying to put Elem's shoes on and Elem was just chilling, ready to let it take as long as it needed. All just so Canaan could do it for him and no one else. haha. Then I also caught Canaan trying to zip up Elem's coat for him so they could line up together. Seriously sweetnees. Oh and did I mention that the fabulous coat Elem has on was Canaans that he gave to Elem. A-DOR-A-BLE.


My little man just couldnt stop smiling all morning long. He has sense drifted off to sleep but I was just so happy for him watching him all morning doing different things with Canaan-learning and growing from playing with a smart and kind 5 year old. And just happy to know he has someone to call his best friend. I love seeing hiim happy and for now-his BFF really does that for him. He is almost like a support system for him. Who knew 2 year olds would have support systems that they would really depend on during the day?

Friday, January 29, 2010

Yes we have Snow Days in Arkansas

Last week we thought we were some pretty lucky Arkansans when we got about 2 inches of snow/ice/slush! But hey beggars cant be choosers around here. Little did we know, we were soon to get 6 or 7 inches just a week or so later. However, these pics were from the first mini snow. I didn't think we would get another chance to see any snow, so I tried to capture the moment while I could



I tried not to let Elem see outside or out the door until I was really ready to get him dressed and in some warm clothes, because I knew as soon as he saw it he would LOVE it. Seth was out of town, so we both bundled up, and Elem took a look through the front door. His eyes got HUGE and he ran over to me almost stuttering saying, "momma, momma, ugh, there is sumpthin on the ground out there. Its white. Its snow. Momma, momma, come here for a second, come look!" we were so excited to say the least when we realized there was just enough snow for us to actually play with :)


After .2 seconds Elem was back in the house looking for tools and shovels, etc. He was ready to get to work, as you can see in the pic. What is even funnier is that he spent most of the morning right here in the entry way to our house. Where just a small bit of snow had accumulated. I think he felt safe to still be able to stand on dry ground if he wanted to. He really hasn't been around too much snow in his few short years.


It was a great day, and would only have been better if Seth would have been there to enjoy it with us. Elem was so happy, and pretty much in awe of the whole situation. He thought it was, "pretty", "cold", "tickled", and "that he had to do hard work in the snow". It is funny that we all get this sweet little face of amazement when we see just a little snow.


I love seeing more firsts of Elem. Although he has seen snow before, he has never seen it at this age, so it was kind of a whole new experience for him. New reactions, new understandings, all of it. Made for a very special memory, and just some good mommy and Elem time. :) Ill post more on the recent "blizzard" that we just had this last week! Way better pics to come!

Sunday, January 24, 2010

On the Road Again

"Elem just can't wait to get on the road again, ....." And I mean CAN.NOT. WAIT. :)

To get out there on the road on his jeep he got from Santa. There is just something about loading up and getting behind the wheel of a 3mile/hour power wheels jeep! Something that makes him feel in control I guess, and so happy! We are so grateful to Santa and Memaw for helping the Jeep to make it's way to our home, Elem Zane will forever be grateful. It seems like every single day, be it morning, afternoon, or night, he is ready to get out there and just ride. Sometimes I can only stand the freezing cold long enough to let him drive across the street to the mailbox, :) but mostly we take a couple laps around the neighborhood or do some donuts in the middle of the street in front of our house-and it is so much fun! Just look at that happy face:

It is so cute to watch him get behind the wheel and have such a determined little face. hehe. He is super serious when he is making turns and trying to back out of the driveway-yes the dang thing has reverse-or when he is trying to figure out how to maneuver it so it doesn't hit one of our cars. Drivin' is a serious thing when you are 2!


I can only imagine what kind of riding toy will be next-Im hoping for something slightly smaller with training wheels maybe?? Like a bike? I think one battery operated toddler automotive should be enough. Even though it is super duper uber fantabulous!

Tuesday, January 19, 2010

Time to get up

"Uhm hello? Can you hear me? Seriously do you hear me talking? Are you ever going to get out of that bed? Comon' it's time to get up?! Please it's time to go to school. Okay seriously lets go. We are leaving in 5 minutes. Come out from under the covers."-me

Hmmm and the list continues. Just a few phrases I hear myself repeating each and every morning. Somehow Elem migrates from his bed, to our bed, to the couch, and is every bit as lovely of a morning person as I am. It is so hard for me to roll over and get up, but gosh darn it I do it! And I definitely need to find a new routine to get this little man up and going in the morning!

Not to mention the bed head we have going in this house. That is a whole-nother level of things to attack in the morning. Why am I the only one who seem to care what gets tackled in the morning?

I need some morning motivator help. :) Oh Happy Day!

Friday, January 15, 2010

You know what mom?

I have been having some conflicting feelings lately. And mostly over something that should not be affecting me the way it is. All over one tiny little word...and the phrasing of it which has shifted only the slightest little bit. Just not in a way that I wanted. All too quickly the tiniest difference in one word can make a phrase have an all new meaning-or more like an all new feeling behind the word. As a mom, I feel like I waited forever for all the little firsts to happen. To feel Elem kick, to feel him have the hiccups, see him for the first time, first steps, first words and on and on. All of it so meaningful, and exciting, yet all meaning when it starts it is most likely not going to stop. And all meaning that he is growing up, even if it is in the slightest of ways, he is growing up.

Mom.

The word itself is one of the most rewarding words I could ever have imagined to be called. I never knew the way I would feel when I heard Elem say it for the first time. Even though it was more like a "ma-ma" :) It was awesome. And from then on-every single time he said it, it just made me melt. Of course once it started being in the midst of a screaming fit-nobody likes that, but we wont get into that. Before I knew it I was mommy. And it never changed. I loved it. Love love love being called mommy from Elem. It is the sweetest, and one of the only things that can make me smile just thinking of how powerful that one little word is. Okay I am rambling, but seriously it is just one of those things for me.

I am in one of those moments or places in time when I feel and see Elem growing up and out of the baby phase and toddler phase and on into a little boy. Like a real little boy-wanting to do all his own things, wanting to act grown up, having his own conversations, and liking his own things. Uhm, wait a minute that is so not how it used to be-and when I say used to, I am meaning like a month ago! We like the same things, we eat the same things. He needs me. Even though I see him changing and loving the little person he is becoming, it is seriously upsetting to me. I know I am being selfish, but the tiniest things are making me realize that. And with one phrase, I could literally start to cry.

"You know what mom?" .....

Uhm-hold up! What? Mom? what in the world? Why are you calling me mom? That is so not my name. Elem what is my name? Elem my name is mommy and you know that. Don't call me mom. You aren't supposed to call me that until you are in like 3rd grade or something. Okay well not 3rd grade but at least after your first day of kindergarten!!! Ahh, I take a deep breath. All these things rushing through my head. Oh no....he- is -calling- me- mom. Mom.

What's a girl to do. There is really nothing I can do. But of course mention every time he says it, that I want to be called mommy :) And to please call me mommy, but I can only do that so many times a day. And it just isn't the same. Correcting Elem from calling me mom just makes me think about it more. Just the tiniest little change, and my heart is totally missing a tiny little piece. When did he grow up so fast? And what am I going to do with this little boy who I thought would be stuck in toddler land for at least a few more months, allowing me to slowly accept a few changes along the way. I can only hope that I haven't shifted to mom for good-some times mommy still slips out, and sometimes I get a good mama. I am holding on tight to every little last bit, until it is official. I am mom. And he is grown up. Sigh.

Luckily, the last part of that phrase/question brings an even bigger SMILE to my face, than just hearing the mom part of it. So I am focusing on the second part of it:

"You know what mom?"........"I love you" (heart melted) every. single. time.
Can someone please tell me when it went from this:


to this:


Cause I can not believe it!

Thursday, January 14, 2010

"I WANT JESUS!!!"

Typically a mother hearing her child say those words would be almost a perfect moment. One of those moments where you are thinking, man I did something right, my kid understands that there is more out there than just us, and he wants to learn more about Jesus. Not me. Those words brought confusion, embarrassment, frustration, and uncontrollable laughter.


With the new year, I made up my mind that I would make certain that our family made a better attempt to get back into the routine of going to church. Not just going through the motions of the whole thing, but really being closer to God, and understanding everything is not just up to us. I grew up going to church, Seth grew up going to church, and honestly I want Elem to grow up going to church and with the blessing of having that good group of morally sound people to interact with. I never want to force my child into any kind of religion, just as I don't feel it fair to be pushed myself, but I do feel I have the obligation as a mother to show him what is out there, and make sure he is aware of a spiritual relationship with God. And he can take it to whatever level he so determines. I had been having these huge feelings over the last few months, but just never made a move on it, until the first of the year. Elem and I woke up Sunday morning, I think Seth was out of town for a few days, got dressed, ate breakfast, and headed off to church. As an educator I am a HUGE "packer" for events-be them big deals or not, I really believe you can never have too much stuff or be to prepared for an afternoon with your kiddo! I was fully prepared for the hour long service, and knew there was a possibility of some crying or talking above the typical whisper. But that was okay with me. We made our way into the parking lot, and I told Elem all about church, because he has only been a few times-we talked about Jesus, and how we are going to sing and pray to the same Jesus we pray to at school and at night before bed. We even talked about the fact that Christmas was all about Jesus' birthday (mistake Number 1) and there were going to be a lot of people there, all thinking about Jesus. (Mistake Number 2) a whole lot of people means this is a BIG deal-didn't need to pump it up that much!. Exiting the car with a little hesitation, Elem was still pretty pumped up, and with his book bag full of goodies, we headed up the stairs, and it was then I began to get a little nervous when the multitude of questions began to fly out of his mouth.

"Is Jesus gonna be here momma?"
"We are going to Jesus Birt-day pawty?"
"It's my birt-day pawty too?"
"Where is Jesus gonna sit?"
"We gonna have cake?"
"I don't wanna sing momma, I wanna eat birt-day cake."

And the list goes on. Still, with questions and all, the attitude was still good. We walked into the front door, and Elem gave the man holding the door open for us a high five. Hmm. Still seems okay. My plan once we got in, just head to the back so we could find a seat away from everybody else, so he could feel free to move around a little bit and not be too bored and confused. We walk in-and were RIGHT on time (mistake Number 3)walking in to a HUGE church with the band playing up front and a couple hundred people singing pretty loudly seems to be a bit overwhelming for a 2 year old! And then it began...the crying. And I don't just mean crying but wailing. But it gets better.

I knew this might happen, I mean he had never been there that he would remember, and yes it was a little overwhelming-even for me. But I maintained my composure and we headed for a seat in the back, ind of off so we wouldn't disturb to many people. I quickly sat down, got the book bag open and began pulling out a few things. The band was awesome and I knew if Elem would just take a minute to see the guy in the front with the guitar, and the one playing the drums, he might calm down just enough to actually enjoy the music. While grabbing his sticker book and his cup, I point out the somewhat hippy looking 20 something year old guy playing the guitar and leading the songs (Mistake Number 4). It was from that point Elem kept crying, and it only got louder. He immediately started asking me if that was Jesus. Well I wasn't going to lie, so I told him know, but that he was singing to Jesus, etc. And thus began the outbursts...

"I want Jesus!, I want Jesus, I wanna see Jesus. Mommy where is jesus. I want Jesus." All this coming out of his mouth while still screaming and tears pouring down his face. My face was flushed, I was getting hot all over, and all I could think of was I just wanted to come to church-start off the year right, but I couldn't be this distracting to so many other people there with the same exact feelings and desires. So I just started to laugh. It sounded as if I had just entered the church and had been brain washing Elem daily-filling him with craziness until he screamed I want Jesus. Oh I was so embarrassed. We got up, I shoved all the stuff I had pulled out quickly back into the book bag, and tried not to look directly into the eyes of anyone I had to pass. Elem never stopped. Not for one second, he just kept repeating it over and over and over, until I started laughing out loud, and just walked as fast as I could to the car. Ahhh...he stopped. of course. What can ya do? He just didn't get it, and I wanted so badly for him to -but that is a big thing to throw on a little person. So, we have gone back every Sunday since, and last week he even made it to Sunday School Class, although he told me he is not going back, because he cried and just wanted me to come and pick him up. haha. Aww. We are going to stick with it, and I am really excited about that. Elem deserves the chance to grow up around such an amazing environment and I am sure there will be many more days of way more embarrassing things.

Saturday, January 2, 2010

Chicago in December

Bundled up form head to toe, in about 5 degree weather makes you thankful for the Arkansas winters with lows of 30. :)

Seth and I have been so busy this past year with work-his going out of town all the time, and my ever growing organization, trying to raise our toddler, my working on school, etc. etc. I was so surprised and excited beyond belief when Seth surprised me with a planned vacation to Chicago! Just the 2 of us, well Dustin and Ali were going too, but no kids. I think I was in a little state of shock because I spend every single waking minute with Elem, he goes to school every day so he is just a glance away any time I want to se him, he still falls asleep on me every night before I carry him off to bed, we are basically just attached at the hip. And to be honest, I love every single minute of it. But I know that I needed this time away from him to just spend some time with Seth. I had never been to Chicago and Seth goes every few weeks for work, so it is kind of like his second home to him, and he knows his way around, so we had all that working for us. I knew we would have fun, but I just was not prepared to leave Elem. He has only spent the night away from us once ever. After many nights of stressing myself out, worrying if he would be okay, and lots of deep breaths trying to tell myself he would be fine, it was finally time for us to head off on our mini vacation and leave the little man with the grandparents.

We headed out around 5 or 6 am, so Elem was not yet awake, which almost broke my heart-we were going to be away from him for 4 days, and weren't even going to get to tell him good bye or get one last hug. Geez that was hard. Once we made it to the airport and we actually in the air, I started to be a little more sure of myself that he would be fine. Seth's parents were awesome enough to keep both Elem and Cecilia so we could all spend some time together. I knew that would make it easier on Elem too, if Cecilia was there to play with him, and just to make the days more normal that not.

We didn't have a real plan when we got there, we just knew it was going to be COLD and snowing, and that we were not going to let it stop us from viewing the city, finding some cool restaurants, and doing some major walking and shopping on Michigan Avenue. Once our plan landed and we walked to get our bags, I knew I was in for it! I am so not a cold weather girl so this was going to be really hard for me, but I came prepared-with layers and layers of clothes to throw on to keep me warm. Our last chance before we headed out the first day-I was slightly naive about what the 12 degree weather was going to feel like when it hit me getting into the cab just a few seconds later.


The cab ride was not bad at all. I think we rode in cabs more on this trip than I have ever ridden in my life. Yes, they were fast, and weaving in and out of the lanes, and stopping super fast, and all of that. But only once was I actually terrified. So I guess I can be thankful for that! We were dropped off right in front of our apartment, so still hadn't quite felt the cold along with the wind for any length of time, so I was still a happy camper. After stretching our legs and taking a second to get unpacked, we immediately started layering up, and prepared for a long day in the snow and wind. We were soooo lucky to get to stay in a 2 bedroom amazing apartment that Seth's boss owns, so it made the trip even better, not having to live out of a hotel room for 4 days while we were there. It was right downtown, had an amazing view, big screen TV, internet, and not to mention it was super trendy and cool. I felt very special. Haha! On our balcony at the apartment:


As most of you know, I am a super fast walker. I don't believe in strolling around, I like to get to where I am going and I figure God gave me long legs to do so with. So I am not one to lolly gag around, especially when the temperature was dropping every few hours! Never in my life have I seen so many people walking around on the busy streets as I did once we started to get into the city with all the shops and stuff! I loved it. I would love love love to be able to get so many places just by walking. Even though it was freezing, I loved the fact I walking several blocks, all bundled up, and no one caring what you were wearing because everyone is so bundled up that nobody cares or takes the time to look. hehe. First stop-Michigan Avenue. Let me give you a brief run down of what I have on under there-because this pic doesn't look like we are very cold. but we totally were. Here we go: Tank top, wind proof long sleeved shirt, short sleeved shirt, fleece jacket, warm coat on top, wind proof pants, jeans, wool socks, insulated boots, gloves, scarf, and fleece hat. Yet still I was cold.


We made our way to some Chicago staples-here is the bean as they say in Chicago.


And then it started to snow! Like pouring down snow. It totally put me in the Christmas Spirit. Although I was freezing, and walking in the wind chilling about 10 degree weather by now. Yikes! But loving every minute of it.


Of course we had to stop in one of the pizza restaurants, to try out some Chicago style deep dish pizza. I am such a picky eater that I wasn't even sure I was going to be able to eat it, just because I know myself and I know I don't try new things in the eating department. But pizza is my favorite, so I tried it, and loved it! It was soooo good, but it was soooo thick, I think I only ate about 6 bites and was done from there. There is just no way you can eat much more than that, I was about to burst. Seth LOVES him some deep dish pizza and was super pumped about it.


Even though we staid bundled up beyond belief most of the time, we did make the effort to go out to a nice restaurant for dinner and actually wear regular clothing. Needless to say, that night we took a cab-and there wasn't much walking. Or there would have been insane amounts of complaining from me. I just can't help it, the cold does not mesh well with my body! And actually if I remember correctly on our way out after dinner, Seth and I headed the totally wrong way, and there was a lot of complaining about how cold I was during those few moments of lost in the freezing Chicago snow! But it was short lived and Seth still claimed me, so it all worked out. :)Here we are at Carmines waiting for our table. When this place says make a reservation because it is going to be packed out, they mean it. We made reservations for about 7pm on Friday or Saturday night, and I don't think we got to sit down until 8:15 or so. So many people, it was crazy, but soooo worth the wait. Me and Ali, waiting patiently for our drinks. Well, at least I was! Did I mention Ali found out she was pregnant, about a week before we left town? She was such a good sport, and bless her heart, still managed to make a good time for herself, with us crazies trying to live it up in the big city of Chicago!


Ali, Me, and Seth still waiting for our table. Apparently those martinis were really good. Seth looks a little too happy to have one!


We continued to bundle up from head to toe each and every day, all day long! We rode the train, rode the Subway, saw Wrigley Field, checked out the lego store-which was CRAZY, went to the Goose Island Brewery and pub, visited Grant Park several times, spent a day at the Field Museum, saw Navy Pier, shopped on Michigan Avenue, checked out the Ice Skating in Grant Park, and more! I could go on and on with all the things we did, because we truly did cram so much into those few days we were there. Here we are at Navy Pier. It was beautiful, and looked like the place to be in the summer-or whenever there was good weather. The day we were there, not so much action going on though.


We really did make the most of our time and were serious speed walkers I must say.


Ali-preggers-did require a few short breaks and intermissions to get warmed up with some coffee. But it was allowed :)Gave us all a chance to get our body temperatures back up to normal.


One of my favorite things we did was visit the Hancock building, which is the 2nd tallest building in Chicago. We chose between the Sears Tower and the Hancock building, and the Hancock was closer, so that was that. It was so amazing to be up 90 something floors and see all of Chicago just by looking out the glass windows. The tour was great, and I learned more about Chicago just by listening to the headset than I think I would have ever learned in any history class. It was truly a great site seeing experience. At the top getting ready to head back down.


By the end of the trip we were all run down and ready to get home to see our babies. I missed Elem more than I could ever have imagined, but I loved the time away too. Which I did not think I was going to be able to say, because I thought I was going to miss him too much! Once we made it back to the airport and picked up our car, we headed straight to Seth's parents house to get the kids, and Sage too of course. Elem was so excited to see us and he and Cecilia were acting as if they had just eaten a ton of sugar they were so happy for us to be home. I could not stop smiling, and all I wanted to do was get home get on some comfy clothes, and hug on Elem for the rest of the night. The trip was so much fun and I am so glad we did it. It was the best Christmas present we could have given ourselves this year, and I feel so lucky to have gone. Being away from Elem for that many days did make me a little crazy at times, but knowing he was in good hands made it a lot easier. Best cold weather vacation for us thus far! Next up-something sunny and warm-I think the beach is calling my name.

Friday, January 1, 2010

What a wonderful Christmas Morning

I guess we were (well at least I know I was) insanely excited to see Elem wake up on Christmas morning to find what all this fuss was over Santa Clause! Truth be told, I don't think Elem really understood that Santa was actually going to bring him what he asked for. I know in theory it sounded good, and all the times we talked it about it, and all those times he talked to Santa about it-it seemed awesome to him that he might actually get some presents. But he was a little bit confused when he woke up. I guess you could add the fat that he is not your happy morning person-he needs some time to wake up, so the reaction we got was pretty good, for just rolling out of bed and seeing all the goodies in your living room.


Cookies eaten, milk drank.

Santa was very good to Elem, and brought him exactly what he had asked for-because he was such a good boy this year. Which was pretty easy-since he only wanted 2 things: a JEEP and a CHOO CHOO TRAIN. Elem actually has an awesome train table already that he plays with every single day, so Santa brought him the mini version just to let him know he did get what he asked for. :) Santa also went way out on a limb and got Elem his very first drum set. And they seemed to be a HUGE hit-even though they are kind of loud-we gotta do what we gotta do to encourage music in this house! Did not take long at all for Elem to start up on the drums and with in just a few minutes, he was already a pro at it!

Moving through the toys, one at a time, and giving them each a little attention. Still a little confused that they were actually his to keep.


We saved Elem's big gift-which was actually from Memaw (and Santa) :) till last. We knew if he saw this BIG JEEP Santa had gotten him, he wouldn't have paid any attention to anything else in the room. After opening all the gifts and seeing everything he had gotten, my mom snuck Elem back into the guest room and kept him occupied long enough for us to get the Jeep into the living room and covered up. Then we brought him out, and he couldn't have been more excited. He loves loves loves his new jeep, and no cold weather was going to stop him from breaking it in!

Somebody is a happy camper with his new ride.


After opening everything at our house, we headed over to Grammy and Poppas to finish up our Christmas morning. Of course there were plenty more gifts to be opened:

A healthy breakfast with Cecilia.

And some good ole loving from the Grandparents.

It was such an amazing Christmas, and despite some unexpected rain and flooding, it couldn't have been much better. Lots of people who we love around to share such a fun morning, and just an overwhelming sense of love. Christmas is my most favorite holiday ever. I love giving gifts and seeing people's reaction! There is just something about Christmas that I can't explain, and I am so happy to see the transformation within our own little family. From Seth and I giving each other gifts and sharing little holiday traditions, to now it being more about Santa and seeing Elem's reaction, and his understanding of the holiday! What a Very Merry Christmas it was!