Friday, December 13, 2013

Did He Just Say...?

I was reading Eli a book called "Bear Feels Scared." The book is about a bear who gets lost in the deep, dark woods all by himself. As we were reading this book, this happened:
Eli: I need to talk to Daddy.
Me: Why?
Eli: I need to ask Daddy if he's ever been lost before.
Jeff walked by his room.
Eli: Daddy! Daddy! Have you ever been lost?
Jeff: Well yes, actually. I once got lost at Sea World. But I said a prayer and then Heavenly Father helped me find my mom and dad.

We could see Eli reflecting on Jeff's story. Then Eli's chin began to quiver and he dramatically threw his head face-down into his pillow and began sobbing.

Jeff had to reassure him that everything was alright for 15-20 minutes after that. And now any time we are in a public place, Eli screams bloody murder if he is more than 10 feet away from us. Kind of nice for a change to have him eager to stay close to us, though.


Eli's fear of being lost has him constantly reminding us not to leave without him when he knows we are planning to go somewhere. One morning we were about to go to the library when this happened:
Eli: Don't leave me! Don't leave me! I have to go get my car.

Eli slowly backed into his room while repeating that over and over again, and making sure to keep an eye on me until he quickly disappeared in his room for 1/2 of a second and reemerged. He was ecstatic when he saw me still standing in the living room waiting for him and proclaimed, "I KNEW you could do it, Mom!"


Right before Jeff was leaving for work one day, this happened:
Jeff: "I love mommy. Carson, do you love mommy?"
Carson: "Yes."
Jeff: "Eli, do you love mommy?"
Eli: "Yes."
Jeff: "I love her more."
Eli: "I love you more."


After reading scriptures one night, Eli sat down with our Family Book of Mormon and was looking through the pictures for a while. After about 5 minutes, I heard him mumble, "And it came to pass..." Then he got super shy when he realized I had heard him say that. It was super cute.


Eli NEVER sings songs. Never ever. One day after going to the store, I put Eli in the car, and then I walked around to open the door for Carson. As I put Carson in, I heard Eli singing, "I crashed my car into a bridge. I don't care. I love it." And then he stopped when he realized I was listening.

That's a song for those of you who don't know. Also I can't believe he knew the words to it. And it made me realize he is soaking up more of what he hears than I expected him to.


Eli watched me put on one of our family reunion matching t-shirts in the morning. Then he ran to his room and said, "Which one are we wearing today, Mom?!?" He quickly appeared in the same t-shirt I had just put on. He loves those things!


Eli came up to me and gave me a hug then said, "Strikes!"
Me: What did you say?
Eli: Strike. One strike in football means you're out of the game!


This morning as we were getting ready for breakfast:
Eli: What's for breakfast?
Me: I was going to make pancakes.
Eli: No! That's not healthy for my BODY!

He then proceeded to eat Fruit Loops instead.


My favorite thing Eli says is when Carson is talking gibberish to him and Eli thinks they are carrying on a real conversation. So it usually goes something like this:
Eli: We're going to Grandma's house today, Carson!
Carson: GUMBA!! (How Carson says Grandma)
Eli: Not GUMBA CARSON! G-rand-MA!
Carson: GUMBA!
Eli: Mom! He thinks I'm saying Gumba. It's not Gumba, Carson!

That dialogue repeats itself at least 5 more times.

Wednesday, December 11, 2013

Starting Traditions and Memories

One of the young women in my class a few weeks ago told us a memory she has from a time when she was three years old. After her story, I couldn't help but say, "Wait. You remember things from when you were three?!?"

And that's when it hit me. Eli is in memory zone. It counts now. We've entered the phase of parenting where I am held to my every interaction with him. Because he may just grow up to be 15 one day and talk about how I never did any crafts with him when he was three. And then he'll be in therapy for the rest of his life because his three-year old childhood was artistically deprived. I couldn't let that happen. So we crafted on Thanksgiving Eve.
In case he doesn't remember this three-year old memory in 12 years, I will show him these pictures.
And he'll probably wish his three-year old memory was a little less documented. Ha.
On Thanksgiving we went to my parents' house for a grand feast of deliciousness.
Behold the one bite Carson happily ate of dinner. Because then he screamed for the next 20 minutes. And everyone left our table probably due to the screaming. So Jeff and I had a romantic Thanksgiving meal all by ourselves in the kitchen while everyone else was laughing and storytelling and gorging in the living room.
Eli quite enjoyed his Thanksgiving meal.
Eli also quite enjoyed the evening's entertainment -- Youtube videos of trike tricks. Eli was smitten. Except when the trikes would crash. Which I am assuming is the reason for the frown in this picture.
He would have watched trike videos all night if he could have.
I love setting up the Christmas tree the day after Thanksgiving.
This is by far the best looking tree we have ever had. But felt trees don't put up much competition in the good-looking department, so it was kind of an easy win.
We've been bribing Eli with movies lately if he is a good boy at church. It's been pretty effective! Jeff had a free rental from GooglePlay, so we watched Planes one Sunday. Eli was obsessed with it. He had to run up to his room in the middle of the movie to find a plane so he could play with his plane while he watched. Then he zoomed planes around the house for the whole next week. It was the cutest.
Now that Eli allegedly could be remembering any of his life experiences for the rest of his life, I figure it's the perfect time to get some family traditions going. One of our traditions is to make a new ornament every year. This year we made a melted snowman.

It took us forever to get our first Christmas tree, and then when we finally had a tree last year, it was skirtless all season. This year, we really upped our game. Tinsel, pretty ornaments, more lights, and dun dun duuuuuuuuuun -- A Crooked Branch exclusive one-of-a-kind tree skirt!
I love it. Even though it ends up crumpled up in a ball under the tree most of the time.
With the tree decorated, the tree skirt in place, and the stockings hung, it was time to scribble heart-felt letters to Santa.

Eli drew an unrecognizable picture of an airplane, a tool, and a Lightning McQueen backpack. He also is in the process of learning to write his name. You can see his "I" in the lower left-hand corner of the page. He drew it by drawing four horizontal lines in all the corners, then two horizontal lines to connect the top and bottom corners. And then the one long vertical line down the middle.

And then we experienced a Christmas miracle. Someone special arrived on our front step as we were writing our letters to Santa! Jeff went to take the trash out while I was coloring with the boys, and he saw that we had a package on our front step that I never heard get dropped off earlier in the day. Lo and behold -- it was our lowly elf eager to meet us.
Now. I must disclaim. I hate Elf on a Shelf. When the elf is naughty and extravagant and used as a constant threat to enforce good behavior. But I do think it's a fun idea to have the kids wake up every morning and run to find the elf. So for us it's more of a hide and seek kind of thing. Or that's what I'll tell myself anyways.
We named our Elf Barry. The boys love to point to Barry throughout the day and say hi to him. It's really cute.
Another cute tradition I saw was to have your kids open up a wrapped Christmas book every night for like 12 or 25 days before Christmas. I thought that was a cute idea too. So the kids have a new Christmas book every morning. After Christmas we will put all the books away, and then pull them out again next year and we'll use the same books every year. My boys love books, and I tried to get books that focus on Christ's birth, or stories of giving and the Christmas spirit. It's been fun to gather as a family in the evenings and read the books together to get everyone feeling the joy of Christmas!
This has been Barry's most creative hiding spot so far. He's an amateur. And he will probably stay that way for his whole existence.
This year I've been on a tradition kick. I'm hoping that if Eli really does remember anything from this year of his life, he will remember the beginnings of traditions, and I'm hoping a few of these traditions will stick and be a fun thing we can look back on and look forward to over the years.

Friday, December 06, 2013


It's winter again. Time for me to hit the internet to whine about how much I hate the snow. And the cold. And being cooped up without our daily walks and playground time. Hmph.

Here's how we are surviving. The boys have extra energy at night without their bike/playground/playing in the dirt time during the day. So during scripture reading in the evenings, they have taken to our toy boxes to rock out all their last bits of energy before bed.
While we were reading about the Brother of Jared one night, Jeff paused to look at the kids mid-reading and said, "Hey look. The kids are acting out the story." We had a good laugh about it for a few minutes.
Any day that is above 40 degrees outside, I make the kids suck it up and endure a walk with me. Eli recently discovered dandelions, and made me stop to get every dandelion we found along the way a few weeks ago.
And I made him pause to pose for a picture with every dandelion along the way.
Our favorite winter activity? Staring at the window. Waiting for Jeff to get home. Even if it's only 3:00 in the afternoon. We still wait.
And wait.
And wait.
Still no sign of him.
Wait a minute! There he is!
The shock on Carson's face every day when he hears the garage door open:
The first snow. Despite attempting to talk the kids out of it, we were all out in the cold at 9:00 in the morning to "play" in the 1/8 inch of snow.
Eli had been asking about snow for MONTHS. So he was thrilled the snow had finally arrived.

Carson is a fair-weather boy. He didn't last more than two minutes out in the snow.

Cooped up on a Sunday morning? No problem! Sounds like the perfect set-up for your first shaving lesson!
(fear not. There aren't razor blades in those.) The boys take their shaving very seriously.
One night on a day I apparently never got around to combing Eli's hair, Eli had limes for dinner. Mind you. He won't eat a single vegetable. Ever. But he has no problem slurping down lime juice for dinner. Kids.
Eli had a great idea for combatting the cold -- coloring!
All over the car. In permanent marker. Thank HEAVENS it was only on slick surfaces and not on any of the fabric parts of the car. Magic Eraser worked like a charm!
The same day as the permanent marker incident, Carson mysteriously woke up with chipped front teeth. It was so bazaar! The kid falls flat on his face about 20 times every day. My theory is they were already cracked and finally chipped off while he was sleeping? I have no idea. But he is now a little snaggletooth. And he's going to be that way for a few more years. Tear.

The boys love the car. They have a sixth sense if I have left the car unlocked. I have stopped letting them play in it because of the marker incident. And the incident when Eli put coins in my mom's CD player in her car and broke it. And the incident when they open and close the garage door a trillion times, get into all my gum, and tear the whole inside of the car apart.

But one day. One day they got in. And they were being so good. And it had been a while since they had played in the car, so I had forgotten just how tornado like they are when behind the steering wheel of our cars. So I let them be.

And then we went to grab some food that evening and found our tape player jam packed with coins and credit cards. The credit cards were recovered, but the coins will be there. Forever.
If you were a fly on our wall a couple weeks ago, you would have heard this conversation,
Me: "Jeff, are you getting baby hungry?"
Jeff: "I do kind of miss having a baby around. They're so cute to snuggle. And swaddling them! Oh I love swaddling babies."
Me: "I don't even remember how to swaddle a baby it's been so long since we've had a baby."
Which led to us brushing up on our swaddling skills to see if we still had it.
Carson was the closest thing to an infant we had lying around the house.
He had no complaints.
Then Eli wanted a turn. But he had the same reaction to swaddling as he did when he was one week old. Immediately squirmed right out of it.
And then Carson laid back down on the blanket for round two of his swaddling.
Maybe it was last week when there was one miracle warm(ish) day? Carson's eyes were so pretty in the sun. I tried to capture them in a picture. This was the best I got, but it just doesn't do them justice.
Here's Dr. Carson administering shots. Anyone interested?
Eli throwin' some sass for Family Home Evening.
Carson taking after his brother.
Here's Eli really cooped up.
Squished in the laundry basket by his friend. Carson couldn't pass up an opportunity to help trap Eli for a few seconds. You can see the sweet revenge in his eyes.
And I'll end with a cute Eli quote:

Me: Eli, is your name Elijah?
Eli: I don't hope so.