Monday, December 28, 2009

Christmas '09

We had a wonderful Christmas this year! On Christmas Eve the joy level was so high I though I would explode, actually! :)

On Christmas Eve, Eli and I spent the day together here at home, baking and just enjoying being together. And the best part of the day was that it was SNOWING! Eric got home from work early in the afternoon, and we went to visit our neighbors, bearing Christmas cookies. It was fun to walk around outside in the snow!



Before Eli's bedtime, we each opened our Christmas Eve gifts (pajamas) and read the Christmas story. Then, while Eric put Eli to bed, I cooked dinner (everything but the steak) for Eric and myself and Phil and Kelly. We did it up right- garlic parmesan mashed potatoes, spinach and artichoke dip, green salad, ribeyes grilled by Phil, champagne cocktails, and cheesecake for dessert. This has become our Christmas Eve tradition, and it is so much fun! A fancy table with fancy food on the best night of the year- perfection! And after a wonderful dinner, Santa came! :)



Eric and I opened our presents to each other on on Christmas Eve night, which was really nice. As always, Eric gave me great gifts, and I think Santa got him a few good ones too. :)

On Christmas morning Eli got to open his presents from us, which was so fun to watch. His big gift was a rocking horse.



He was most concerned with picking up all the wrapping paper and putting it in the trash. It was hilarious, and it reminded me not a little bit of me. :)



After that, we headed next door to my parents' house, where everyone gathered for the most insane gift-giving extravaganza I've ever seen. :) Three 18 month-old boys make for a crazy Christmas, for sure. :) My parents, as always, were so generous, and we had such a fun morning being with everyone!



We ran home after that and changed clothes and then headed to Eric's mom's house for a late lunch. She gave him this big stuffed lion for Christmas that he loves.



And finally, we drove to my uncle's house for dinner with my dad's side of the family, another big, crazy, super-fun get-together. Eli, however, had had a little too much Christmas by this point- he was worn out! We headed home and put him right to bed. He had a great day and was such a trooper as we went from event to event.

And, of course, no Christmas can be complete without a midnight showing of Avatar, right? Wrong. Well, wrong for me at least. :) Eric, Phil, Jonathan, and my dad went to see it late, late on Christmas night while the rest of us slept soundly in our beds. And that was our Christmas! Crazy? Yes! Perfect? YES!!!

Tuesday, December 22, 2009

Christmas Letter

My sweet Eli,

Merry Christmas, baby! I am so excited to celebrate with you this year, because this year you will actually know that there is something really fun going on! Last year you just laid in the wrapping paper and watched as we opened your gifts for you. But this year? This year you will run into the living room on Christmas morning and notice a big pile of presents under the tree. You will get insanely excited as you rip the paper off of the boxes. And you will have a blast playing with all of your many new toys. You'll love running around with your cousins at Mom-Mom and Pop-Pop's house later in the morning, and you'll bask in all the attention lavished on you when we go see Daddy's side of the family later in the day. You will be the delight of our day. Christmas is just so much better with you!

I want to remind you of a couple things, because I imagine that someday you'll read back through these blog entries, this digital journal that I'm keeping for us, for you. First, I want to remind you of your precious Savior Jesus Christ who was born for you on Christmas day. Eli, there is no gift I want more in this entire world than the gift of seeing you trust Him as your personal Savior. He came for you, baby! He took on flesh and all the limits of humanity, all the horrible persecution we inflicted on Him, all the pain and agony of death on a cross... for you! For us! We open presents and get together with family on Christmas because we are celebrating the indescribable gift of Jesus Christ. We have talked about this so much already, opening one little drawer of our advent calendar every day so that we can help to tell you the story of the birth of Christ. We pray that in the coming years you will understand more and more fully what Christmas really means.

The second thing I want to remind you of is that I love you! I love you for who you are, and nothing could ever change that. But I also love you for what you do! I love your big personality, all the adorable sounds you make that comprise a language all your own. I love that you lift up your shirt a thousand times a day to see your belly button, asking "Where is it?" until you find it and then waving "bye-bye" to it as you pull your shirt back down again. I love that you wake up yelling "DAD!" I love that you take my hand when we walk and say "Mommy" over and over again when you sit in your stroller, just to make sure that I'm still there. I love how you climb all over everything, my little monkey! I love how smart you are, remembing what everything is and where everything goes, learning shapes and colors and words and sounds. I love how you adore your cousins and can hardly contain your excitement when you see them. I love that you love to wrestle and be tickled and chased and scared by us when we play hide and seek with you. I love that you call your toes "wee-wee," because we've played "This Little Piggy" a thousand times, and that last little piggy goes "wee-wee-wee-wee, all the way home." I love your affinity for sticks, how your favorite toy right now is piece of PVC pipe that is taller than you are. It stays outside, though, because you also love to knock things off the counters with it inside! :) I love your strong will and determination, and I also love your sweet spirit that is tender and teachable. I love YOU, Eli Wilson, from the top of your white-blond head to the tips of your adorable, tiny toes.

You are the joy of our hearts, baby, and we are waiting with childlike excitement to celebrate your second Christmas with you. I remember not being able to sleep as a child on the night before Christmas because I was so excited to see what was under the tree. This year I won't be able to sleep either, but now it's because I can't wait to see your reaction to what is under the tree! You will make this Christmas perfect.

I love you, sweetheart!

Mommy.

Sunday, December 20, 2009

Weekend Update

(I can't help but think of "Weekend Update with Norm McDonald" whenever I write a post about our weekend.) :)

This weekend was fantastic!!! It started off with a bang, because my sister Kelly had her second baby! Charlie Joseph was born early on Friday morning, a handsome, healthy, absolutely adorable baby. See for yourself:



They're all home now and doing really well. Charlie is incredibly precious, a perfect addition to our family, especially at Christmastime! We are all fighting over holding him already. :)

On Friday night my parents kept Eli so that Eric could take me out for my birthday. We ate at Blue Mesa, one of our favorites, and then went to see the Blind Side, which we loved. It was a fun, romantic evening out.

On Saturday we just enjoyed time here at home, wrapping presents, playing, and getting ready for the coming week. And then in the evening we watched the Cowboys beat the undefeated Saints! I think we all almost suffered heart attacks in that last quarter- it was so close!

Today we had our usual big Sunday breakfast, just the three of us, and then we went to church. Afterwards, Eli napped while Eric put together his rocking horse (Christmas present) and I finished wrapping all our gifts- finally! Wrapping is one of those things that always sounds fun to me in theory, but when I sit down to actually do it, I can't stand it. :) Tonight after Eli went to bed we watched National Lampoon's Christmas Vacation, which, by our estimation, is perhaps one of the most quoted movies of all time. Classic.

We had a wonderful weekend and are super-excited about the coming week! I hope you guys are all doing really well, too!

Thursday, December 17, 2009

Conviction from a Stranger

Today on my way home from work I stopped at Wal-Mart to buy just a couple things. I quickly grabbed what I needed and then proceeded to join a really long line of disgruntled customers at the "20 items or less" register. Everyone was in a bad mood. It was 5pm, the store was packed, the lines were long- you get the picture. I admit that I joined the disgruntled mood of everyone else in line at Wal-Mart.

I didn't say anything out loud, but in my head I was thinking, "Why does Wal-Mart have to be so packed? Who are all these people? Where are all the checkers? I hate shopping in Christmas crowds!" Bad, right?

The elderly couple in front of me was particularly upset. But amidst his loud grumbling, the man was interrupted by a tap on the shoulder from the woman who was the next customer in the line right beside us. "Sir, you're welcome to go in front of me!" the woman cheerfully told him. The man was caught totally offguard and kind of brushed her off, but I was so stunned by her random act of kindness. This woman was next in line! She had probably been waiting for at least 10 minutes. She had every right to pay for her items and leave. But instead? She reached out to the person next to her and sacrificed her right so that he would be a little happier.

As I walked out to my car a little later, I saw this same lady walking quickly across the parking lot toward an older gentleman who was struggling with his many bags. "Sir!" she called, "Do you need some help?"

Once again, I was stunned. Who this lady was, I have no idea. She has no clue that I saw either of these acts of kindness. She was not being kind to get any kind of recognition or admiration from anyone. But she, with her smile, cheerful attitude, and bold offers of sacrificial help to those around her, impacted me greatly.

What a jerk I am for standing around grumbling in my head as I stand in line at Wal-Mart! What huge opportunities I miss every day because I act just like "the world" acts in ordinary situations. I don't sieze chances to choose kindness and joy over tiredness and selfishness. I stand in Wal-Mart thinking that I deserve better than to be there, that I have some kind of right to faster service, shorter lines, happier shoppers all around me. Who am I to think this way? Wal-Mart (figuratively and literally speaking) should be the prime spot for me to show off Christ. Because, as I clearly saw today, it's the mundane, ordinary, every day experiences and places that offer believers the best chances to act in a way that is totally different from everyone else.

That lady, that stranger, brought so much conviction to me today. The next time I'm in Wal-Mart, I want to act like her. I have countless opportunities every day to bring glory to God and kindness to others in places as ordinary as Wal-Mart. I'm praying that I'll sieze them a little more often!

Tuesday, December 15, 2009

Remember the Alamo

We spent the better part of last week in San Antonio. I had a conference/seminar to go to for work, and Eric and Eli were able to come with me so we could make a little vacation out of the trip, too.



Eric and Eli spent the days tooling around town and taking naps at the hotel (jealous!) while I filled my brain with code and regulations regarding Safe Quality Food. After they picked me up from the conference, we'd spend our evenings eating out and just enjoying being together in a really nice hotel suite!

On Friday, since the conference was finished, we went to the Riverwalk. It was cold and misty, but we made the best of it, and Eli had a great time running up and down the sidewalks while we tried to keep him from falling in the water. We ate great Mexican food and discovered that there is only so far you can push a 19-month-old. After days of long car rides, late bedtimes, new surroundings, and shortened naps, Eli let us know on the way back to the hotel from the Riverwalk that he had had it. He sobbed his poor little eyes out for the entire ride home and then fell into a deep sleep that can only be rivaled by a coma. He never woke up in the transfer from car to hotel to pack-n-play. I felt terrible for how worn out he was!



But after a good long nap, he was as good as new, and we spent the evening with my long-time friend Amanda and her husband, James, who are newly expecting! (Congrats, guys!)

The next day, after purchasing a DVD player for the car and several annoying-to-parents-yet-entertaining-to-toddlers DVDs, we headed back to Dallas. We had such a great time and are so thankful to my company for making it possible! We were equally happy to be back home. Home is such a wonderful place to come back to. And now we've settled in to enjoying Christmastime together.

Sunday, December 6, 2009

This Just Makes Me Laugh

Eli's new favorite activity...



Sorry if this is boring. I'll admit that I'm a little biased. :)

Tuesday, December 1, 2009

Christmas Tree Farm '09

On Saturday we went to the Walls Family Farm outside of Terrell to cut down our Christmas tree. I loooove this tradition. We did it every year when we were kids, and I love carrying this tradition over to our little family now as well. The farm is just picturesque- a big barn with a huge Christmas tree and homemade cookies and cider, riding in the back of a big tractor filled with hay, traipsing around a field full of pine trees, sawing one down all by ourselves, enjoying a fun experience with our dear friends (the Heinzs and the Vavras)... perfect, if you ask me!

Here we are on the hayride. Eli was completely enthralled with the tractor.



We wandered around for a while, letting Eli enjoy being in such a fun place (dirt, sticks, leaves...):



And then we found and cut down our Christmas tree!



It was the perfect way to kick off the Christmas season.

Sunday, November 29, 2009

Thanksgiving 2009

It has been so long since I've posted! This is mainly due to the fact that our lives have been pretty "boring" lately, which is just how I like it, to tell the truth! :) Eli has been enjoying lots of time outside (Who can resist long walks and afternoons at the playground with this gorgeous weather?), learning plenty of new words, and mastering the art of climbing every single obstable he can find. He's a joy!

For Thanksgiving this year, we spent the morning at Eric's mom and step-dad's house in Fort Worth and the evening with my family here in Mesquite. Two great meals, lots of grandparent attention for Eli, and great memories all around. Eli did great- he was such a trooper with the long drive to and from Fort Worth, and he even took a 2-hour nap at Grandma's house! My grandparents are here from Pennsylvania, so that made Thanksgiving even more special for us.

The day after Thanksgiving was the official start of the Christmas season at the Wilson house, even though (true confessions) we've been sneaking Christmas cds into the cd player for weeks now. :) Eric put the lights on the trees outside the house and brought down all the boxes from the attic, and then he took Eli outside to play for the afternoon so that I could clean and decorate. It was great! I cooked another Thanksgiving dinner on Friday night just for us (I can't not have turkey leftovers!), and we watched the Family Stone after Eli went to sleep. (Sidenote: I looooooove this movie! Perfect, perfect Christmas movie.) This is our traditional start to the Christmas season- I love it!

On Saturday we went to cut down our Christmas tree! But more on that later. Right now I need to get to sleep, since I'll probably be up with poor Eli once or twice tonight. He has hand-foot-mouth disease, as do his cousins and our friends' kids. Who knows where it started, but it has made for some fussy kiddos around here lately! We're just dealing with the fever now, praying that he doesn't get the mouth sores- the last thing Eli needs is something that causes him to stop eating and lose weight!

Anyway, we are super thankful for a wonderful Thanksgiving weekend with our little family. I hope that you guys had a special holiday as well!

Tuesday, November 17, 2009

Thankful

I heard a comment this afternoon on Family Life Today that really struck me. I'm paraphrasing when I say this, but it was basically along the lines of:

"Imagine if what you have tomorrow depends on what you give thanks for today. What would tomorrow look like?"

Yipes! In all honesty, if I was given tomorrow only the things for which I gave thanks today, I would have very little when I woke up in the morning. Yet we are called to such a high standard: "In everything give thanks..." (1 Thess. 5:18). I am trying today to have a much more grateful heart, one that does not miss the everyday blessings that I look over all too easily. I really feel like a grateful heart can be the doorway into a much closer walk with the Lord, because it expresses humility and dependence. I'm working on that doorway today!

Monday, November 9, 2009

Bye-Bye Baby!

I can't believe that today Eli is 18 months old, the official point of entry into toddler-hood. Though he will always be my baby, he is technically a toddler now, and I can't believe it!

Eli is the joy of our lives, a content, hilarious, fun, energetic blessing who keeps us laughing and smiling all the time. I love him more than anything in the world!

At 18 months, Eli is a top-speed runner and walker, a babbler of countless words, and a lover of the outdoors, climbing, and playing chase. His favorite activities include being pulled in the red wagon, taking long walks (with lots of pauses to pick up sticks and acorns), and tickle fights. He is seriously the most fun little kid you can imagine. Eric and I both just love being with him!

Eli, you are our sunshine. As your mommy, I will never, ever forget the feeling of you kicking inside my tummy, the overwhelming love I felt the first time I held you in my arms, how tiny you were, or how hard you fought to go from sick preemie to healthy, vibrant toddler. But also, as your mommy, I will treasure every single moment that is to come, and I will pray big prayers for your life as you continue to grow and learn. You are a toddler now, sweet boy, but you will always, always be my baby.

Thursday, November 5, 2009

Schedule? What Schedule?

I used to be the biggest fan in the world of the whole "fall back" thing. I mean, who doesn't love getting a whole extra hour of sleep every autumn?

I'll tell you who...

Mothers of young children, THAT'S who!

Eli was formerly the most perfectly scheduled little child. Up between 8 and 9 every morning. Down for a nap at noon. Up again between 2 and 3. Asleep for the night by 7:30pm. Happy, content, non-whiny, full of energy during all his awake hours. Perfectly scheduled, I tell you!

And now? NOW? Now he is up between 6 and 6:15am. By 10:30am he is beside himself with exhaustion and spends the next hour and a half whining, moaning, clinging to my legs, and crying. He takes his afternoon nap, but it is now, for some reason, a good hour shorter than before the time change. We try to push him to his normal bedtime at night and usually make it to about 7pm, but he still wakes up around 6am! What in the world?

So, basically, all the time change did for me was to make my child sleep a good 2 hours less than he used to sleep, than he needs to sleep. And less sleep a very cranky child makes!

Let me just say that I am a fan of this time, this normal old non-daylight-savings time. I like that the sun comes up early and goes down early. But let's just leave it this way, eh? Messing with the clocks twice a year wreaks havoc on small children and their mothers.

Mothers of small children, UNITE! No more time changes!

Sunday, November 1, 2009

Roar!

What a gorgeous day it was on Saturday! A perfect day to wake up looking like this:



Poor Eli has had a bad cold this past week, and it developed into pink eye this weekend. He woke up with his eyes puffy, red, and gunky. I felt terrible for him, but he didn't seem to mind one little bit. Fortunately, my mom (a nurse) had some antibiotic drops for him, so we didn't have to take him to the doctor.

Unfortunately, we had family pictures scheduled for Saturday morning. :) All the pictures were in black and white, though, and his eyes had started looking better by the time we started, so hopefully no one will be able to tell. But if you get a Christmas card from us this year with Eli's eyes looking a little funny, remember this blog post! :)

Eli took a good long nap after a harrowing morning of being forced to sit still and smile (neither of which he did much of!). Then we headed back outside to enjoy the gorgeous afternoon.

And then it was costume time! Eli had the cutest little lion costume to wear. Seriously- is he not the most adorable lion ever?!?





Timothy and Cooper, Eli's cousins, dressed up as well. Timothy was a hedgehog and Cooper was an octopus. They would NOT all cooperate for a picture, but here are a couple... Eli giving Cooper the octopus a kiss, and Eli comforting poor sad Timothy, who apparently didn't like his costume this year. :)





After our failed attempt at a photo with all 3 boys, we took a very tired little lion home for the night. But first we pretended to trick-or-treat at our house, just so we could get a picture of him with his pumpkin. :)



I hope you all enjoyed a beautiful weekend. Happy November!!!

Tuesday, October 27, 2009

Speech!

Eli said his first word, "mama," at about 8.5 months old. "Daddy" followed shortly thereafter. I was so excited to start hearing all the other things that he was going to start saying. But then Eli just decided that he didn't want to talk at all. He learned his own language of grunting, growling, pointing, shaking his head "no," and using signs that he made up for "more," "eat," "please," "bye-bye," and "don't touch." I'd hear "mama" or "daddy" occasionally, but no other words. He's almost 18 months old now, but no words! I was getting frustrated, but I haven't been worried because he understands everything. He is incredibly observant and follows instructions to a tee. He just made a choice not to speak, which is so like Eli. He wants everything on his own terms.

I'd hear him sometimes standing at the glass door to the back porch saying "dog, dog, dog" to our pets, but he would only say it when he thought I wasn't paying attention. He'd whisper "kitty" whenever we would see a cat, but, again, only when he thought I wasn't listening. He'd flip through his books by himself and say the words for "duck," "keys," and several others, but only if he was alone. I'd try all day and night to get him to repeat words, but he'd just stare at me. He was going to speak on his own terms.

And I guess his terms have been met, because all of the sudden, in the past several weeks, he has been picking up new words all over the place! I LOVE hearing his little voice now! He has about 20 consistent words now, and every day he seems to learn another. He's a pro at animal sounds, too. :)

This was a good lesson for me in not stressing about the "milestones" that get pushed so often by pediatricians, etc. My child will do things in his own time, and he doesn't need forceful pushing by me. My job is to nurture and love him and allow him to learn and grow in his own way and in his own time, without comparing him to anyone else. And besides, now that he is learning to talk, there will probably be moments in the future when I wish he was as silent as he used to be. :)

Tuesday, October 20, 2009

Snip, Snip

Eli got his very first haircut yesterday! I have been putting it off forever, because I love his soft, long blond hair. It broke my heart to think of cutting it off! But pictures like this convinced me it was time to break out the scissors:



First, notice how handsome both of my boys are! Second, notice that Eli's hair reaches almost down to his eyes. :) My mom offered to cut it for us since she used to trim our hair when we were little. We broke out the camera, plunked him down on the kitchen table, and I even got a little misty-eyed. My baby! His hair!

The Before:

Seriously, look how long that mohawk is!

During:


And I forgot to take an after shot. :) Just trust me that he looks cute. :)

My baby is growing up!

Monday, October 12, 2009

17 Months and 3 Days



Dear Eli,

I know I tell you a thousand times a day, but I love you! I love you to the moon and back again. I used to write you a "letter" every month during your first year, and, though I don't think I'll keep doing it every month, I at least want to do it every so often, since this blog is my way of documenting your childhood. So here it is, your "17 months and 3 days letter."

You are amazing, kiddo. You have an incredible amount of personality packed into the cutest little body. I always think of that line from Seabiscuit when I think of you... "Though he be small, he is mighty!" That's you, Eli! Small but mighty, for sure.

You are high-energy all of the time. You love to run, climb, push things around, and be outside. You love the red wagon, your stroller, and the playground. You adore wrestling with your Daddy and being chased by anyone with enough energy to run after you. You love to be scared- Daddy often hides from you and jumps out to scare you. You laugh hysterically and want to do it again and again.

You are very "organized." You remember where everything goes and the pattern for doing everything. You've seen me put my cell phone in my purse a hundred times, and so you assume that your toy phone goes in there as well. I'll put that toy phone in the toybox a hundred times, only to find that you've put it back in my purse again and again, because that's where it goes! :) You play with something and then wave "bye-bye," signalling that you're done playing with that toy and it's time to put it away. You wake up in the morning and go and point at every window in the house so that we can open the blinds. You love our daily routine, and I love that you love routine, because I love routine too!

You are very affectionate with the people you love. When you see your cousins, you run to give them a hug. You won't go to sleep at night without kissing me goodnight. You love to ride on Daddy's shoulders and tug on his hair. You're still very wary of strangers, but once someone wins your heart, you are elated to see them again and again. You love to be with your cousins and your grandparents and, of course, with Daddy and me. Our favorite thing to do is to lie in bed together, all 3of us, tickling you and letting you climb all over the place, all of us laughing and sublimely happy.

You are strong-willed, for sure. Once you set your mind on something, there is no distracting you. I forsee battles of the will ahead, but I also forsee you being someone who sticks to your convictions like glue, unwavering in what you believe. We pray daily that the Lord channels your strong will into solid, passionate faith and service in the Lord Jesus Christ.

You crack us up. You love this silly little song that I sing to you about a little green frog. You walk around the house "singing" it all day, making the frog's sound and shaking your head back and forth in an imitation of the way I always sing the song to you. It is adorable. We love to listen to you "talking" in your crib to all your animals. You do and say the funniest things.

You are so very smart. You know everything that we are saying. I can't wait to see how smart you'll be as you grow up.

We love you, kid! You are the joy of our lives, an absolute treasure to Daddy and me. We love our little family. You complete us! I could not possibly be more thankful and humbled that God chose me to be your mom. It is the greatest blessing in the world.

All my heart,
Mommy.

I Love Fall

I love fall. I love it when the weather turns cooler and we finally get to put on jeans and boots and jackets. I love seeing Eli in a little hat to keep his ears warm. I love pumpkins and mums and a big fall wreath on the front door. I love banana bread and Yankee fall candles and making a big pot of soup. I love lounging around at home with my sweet little boy. I love that Eric is out fishing today on the cold lake and will come home to a warm house with two people that think he's the greatest guy in the world. And I love all the things that we have to look forward to in the next couple of months. I love fall!

Tuesday, October 6, 2009

The Call of the Wild

Eli loves animals. The kid would walk right up to a wart hog and give him a hug. I envision many a pet in our house as he grows up.

On Monday we went to the Arboretum, as usual, except this time they had a little petting zoo for the toddlers. They had the most adorable assortment of baby animals- lambs, goats, a little donkey, bunnies, and some sort of chicken-ish bird. Eli was in heaven. And these animals were the friendliest, most docile creatures you could ever imagine. I don't think you could get them riled up if you tried, and boy were the kids all trying! Observe exhibit A, Eli pulling a goat's ear:



The goat was totally unphased. I don't know what the petting zoo people do to tame their animals, but I wish they would come and perform similar tactics on our insane and enormous puppy Izzie!

I love watching Eli play with animals. I think I will even go back on my we-will-never-ever-in-a-million-years-have-guinea-pigs-or-gerbils-or-hamsters rule. That is just how much I love my boy.

Wednesday, September 30, 2009

Oink

Well, the swine flu has been the name of the game in our house this past week. And, speaking as one who previously scoffed at those who wore masks for protection and freaked out about the "pandemic," let me just say... Be afraid of the swine flu! Be very afraid! I would have worn a mask for an entire year if it could have prevented the sickness in this house this week. Mask-wearers, you have my full blessing! :)

I'll spare you all the details, but let me just say that the past 6 days have been really rough. And let me also say a giant thank you to all of you who prayed for my sweet little former-preemie as he struggled with this nasty bug. I was so scared for him, but he pulled through like a champ. I am still concerned about the bad cough that he's left with, and I would really, really appreciate continued prayers that this clears up and does not settle into his lungs.

I am beyond thankful for Eric, who took care of Eli and I through all of this. It is tough stuff taking care of a sick kid when you're sick yourself. I'm so grateful for a husband who did everything around here for the past week!

So, in conclusion, don't catch the swine flu. I don't really recommend it. :)

Wednesday, September 23, 2009

What a Difference a Year Makes

Today Sarah and I took the boys to the Pumpkin Patch at the Dallas Arboretum. I love love love the Arboretum, but we haven't been able to use our membership all summer because it was just too darn hot! It was so exciting to go back today, especially since it's the "Pumpkin Festival" now.

Anyway, I was uploading some pictures of Eli in the pumpkins, and I couldn't help looking back at pictures we took of him last fall in the Arboretum pumpkin patch. Wow! What a difference a year makes! He's gone from baby to boy right before my eyes. I couldn't love him more.

Eli, October 2008


Eli, September 2009

Sunday, September 20, 2009

"We're Going Camping Now..."


Bonus points to anyone who can sing the Psalty song that the title comes from, or to anyone who even knows who Psalty is, for that matter. :)

To quote Owen Wilson in Bottle Rocket, this weekend camping trip was a "success! Full success!" I was so nervous about taking a one-year-old camping, but it turned out to be just great! Eli had a blast being outside 24/7, ate great, slept great, and was just as happy as we were to be in a pretty place with dear friends and nothing to do but play. We all really enjoyed talking, eating, playing in the water, walking, and taking in the gorgeous view all around us. Eric got to fish a little, which is just about his favorite thing to do, and we all got to watch him reel in a large-mouth bass with the backdrop of a gorgeous sunset.

Eli experienced his first campfire, his first swim in a lake, his first night in a tent, his first fire-ant bites, his first hot-dog roasted over a fire, his first tumble on a sandy beach. He slept like a log at night and at naptime, sleeping the sweet, deep sleep of a child that has played hard and had tons of fun. By late Sunday morning, all 3 kids were too tired to continue with all the fun. (Read: whiny, crabby, and extremely ready to be put in the car to sleep all the way home.) I think all 3 kids were fast asleep before we even drove out of the campground! :)

In short, it was a wonderful weekend, and a great way to start the fall season. I'm so glad that we had this experience with Eli, the first of many camping trips as a family. And I'm super-thankful for the precious friends we got to spend the weekend with!

Thursday, September 17, 2009

Gone Fishin'

A weekend camping trip. Sounds relaxing right? Simple? Throw a tent, some hot dogs, and a change of clothes in the back of the truck and take off, right?

WRONG. At least, wrong when you have a 1-year-old to take camping. :) We’ve been looking forward to our weekend at Lake Murray with our friends Nick and Sarah and their kids for a long time now, but man has it been stressful to try to get everything ready for the weekend! Once again, I am amazed at the amount of stuff a tiny little person like Eli requires.

But once we get there, it will be worth it. We are so looking forward to the pretty weather, the lake, and time with our friends. Eli has never camped in a tent before- I’m excited to introduce him to one of our favorite pastimes! He loves being outside more than he loves to breathe, so this weekend should be really fun for him.

We’ll let you know how we fared when we return. Until then, we’re gone fishin’.

Monday, September 14, 2009

Anniversary


On September 15, 2007, Eric and I got married. Our first two years, though they did not follow our carefully laid plans, have been full of the greatest joy I have ever known. I can't imagine sharing my life with anyone else. He is the greatest man I have ever known. Happy anniversary, Eric! I love you with all my heart.

Wednesday, September 9, 2009

King of the Jungle

In my family growing up, we were not normally big Halloween celebrators, nor are we ones to spend any money at all on a costume when perfectly good odds and ends are lying around the house for free, just ready to be made into some sort of goofy coustume.

But when my mom found a little costume for Eli at Canton for $1.50, she couldn't resist.

Behold, the King of the Jungle:



Seriously, though, isn't he the cutest lion you've ever seen? It's a perfect costume for Eli, because his favorite animal is a lion. He roars every time he hears the word or sees a picture of this beloved animal. The other day I told him, "You're being so compliant!" and he roared, because compliant sounds like lion, apparently. :)

So, even though it is only September, I couldn't resist showing off my little guy in his full Halloween regalia. Because, come Halloween, who knows how long he'll put up with having this annoying thing on?

Monday, September 7, 2009

$34

Q: When is a piece of fish worth $34?

A: When it is the Chilean Sea Bass served at the Ama Lur restaraunt at the Gaylord Texan.


Oh.My.Goodness. It was so insanely good. So was Eric's steak. And the sundried tomato/goat cheese flatbread appetizer. And the chocolate/ancho chile cheesecake. (And the incredibly strong margaritas.) Seriously. If you are ever near the Gaylord Texan, go eat at this restaraunt. You will gladly kiss your money goodbye.

Eric and I were able to get away this weekend for an early anniversary celebration. My parents kept Eli and we enjoyed a gloriously kid-free, relaxing, romantic weekend together. The Gaylord Texan is really an amazing place, and sleeping in until 9am without a toddler climbing all over the place was amazing too. :)

We were, of course, super-happy to see Eli again. This kid is the light of our lives. He cracks us up with his high-energy antics. To add to his slew of animal impressions, he now knows "What does the Indian say?" He pats his mouth with his open hand while making continuous noise, a-la an Indian. It's adorable, even if it's not exactly an animal sound. :)

I hope you guys all had a good weekend too!

Tuesday, September 1, 2009

Just a Suggestion

Today I spent 2 hours at the doctor's office with Eli. 110 minutes were spent waiting in a tiny room while Eli repeatedly pushed the rolling stool into the metal examination table and licked the floor. The other 10 minutes were spent talking with Eli's pulmonologist to hear that he has no lingering lung issues and is discharged from his care.

AAAAAAAAAAHHHHHHHHH!

ONE.HUNDRED.AND.TEN.MINUTES. TWO.HOURS. With a toddler. With a hungry toddler. With a hungry, active toddler. With a hungry, active toddler who desperately needs a nap.

I texted Eric every 15 minutes to let him know we were still waiting in that tiny room. I talked about how rude it was to let your patients wait for 2 hours with the full knowledge that they have a small child in tow. I entertained Eli with a bottle of hand sanitizer and a tongue depresser. I let him chew on the crayons in the communal bucket. And when he had a dirty diaper that needed to be changed and stunk up the whole room, I smiled not a little fiestily, secretly happy that when the doctor FINALLY got around to us, he'd be hit in the face with a gust of poopy air.

And then the doctor came in and gave a really good excuse about why he was late. I mean, it was totally justifiable, and I actually felt bad for the guy. Plus he's about the nicest man in the world. He reminds me of the old character "Guy Smiley" from Sesame Street. He introduces himself as "Andy," not "Dr. So-And-So." He messes with Eli's hair and plays peek-a-boo with him. He compliments his development and praises his progress. And then he tells me as he shakes my hand before leaving that I am "one of the nicest people we see in this office."

(I'm pretty sure he wouldn't have said that if he heard my evil thoughts during the 2-hour wait.)

And then we drove home, me embarking on an embarrassing monologue of all the things that we were passing in a very loud and high-pitched voice in an attempt to keep Eli awake, and Eli sleeping soundly in the back seat.

Anyway, all that to announce my suggestion to reform waiting time in pediatrician offices: If you are an office staff employee who knows that the doctor is running more than 30 minutes late, CALL THE PATIENTS WITH SUBSEQUENT APPOINTMENTS!

"Ma'm, I'm sorry, but Dr. G is running 2 hours late today. Would you mind arriving at our office at 12pm instead of 10:15am? Or we would be happy to reschedule you for a more convenient time." No parent is going to yell angrily, "NO, I insist on coming to your office and waiting for 2 hours in a tiny room!" Any parent in his/her right mind would welcome this knowledge and gladly come a little later or on a different day. A phone call or two would save the sanity of many a mother in a waiting room with their small child. How's that for healthcare reform?

Tuesday, August 25, 2009

Caught Up


Dear Eli,

How many times have I heard over the course of your life, "It will take him at least 2-3 years to catch up to his peers?" How many times was I reminded by doctors and nurses that you'd probably be a little "behind" for a while due to your prematurity?

As a premature baby, you had the odds stacked against you, for sure. Neonatologists all agree that preemies are "behind" in normal development, taking years to catch up to their full-term peers. I was told this hundreds of times by every doctor and nurse who cared for you, and I had myself convinced that what they said was absolute truth.

Yet, true to form, you have proved them all wrong. You are our miracle, Eli, and we are so very proud of the progress you've made!

At your 15 month check-up today, Rocky came in with the "milestone checklist" that she goes through at every well-baby check-up. Since your very first appointment, she has written "2 months premature" at the top of the checklist, as a reminder that you shouldn't be able to accomplish these milestones, that you should be "behind." And yet, each time, you have been able to check off many of the milestones that you "shouldn't" be able to accomplish.

And today? Today? Today Rocky moved down the list, asking me question after question... "Can he climb up stairs?" "Can he feed himself?" "Can he indicate what he wants by pointing and grunting?" "Can he say several words?" "Yes, yes, yes," I told her, the answer to these and many more questions. And then, before the last question, Rocky said, "This last milestone is one that some 18-month-olds can't even do." "Can he point to at least one body part?" she asked. I smiled proudly, thinking of the many times you've proudly pointed to your hair, your belly, your nose, all on command. "Yes," was my proud answer.

"He's more than caught up to his full-term peers!" Rocky announced. "There is no need to correct for prematurity any more! He's there!" My eyes filled with tears at her words of praise for my little boy. My mind flashed back to your incubator in the NICU, where I sat day after day watching your tiny little 2.5# body supported by machines for your survival. I heard in my head the voices of all those doctors reminding me of how you'll be "behind" for years to come.

And then I looked at you through my misty eyes: smart, active, happy, healthy, the joy of our lives. I'll say it again, Eli: you are our miracle! Way to go, our little fighter- you've overcome all the odds, and you are right where you need to be. We are infinitely proud of you.

All my love,
Mommy.

P.S. You tipped the scales today at 18.2#! You're slowly catching up in your weight and height, and your head, as always, is quite large. :) (It has to be, right? It's got to hold all those brains!)

Thursday, August 20, 2009

The Sound of Fire Engines

(Toy fire engines, that is.)

Eli's absolute favorite indoor activity is riding around on his little "fire engine," a gift from his grandparents a few months ago. It makes all kinds of cool noises, including a very real-sounding siren.

The downside of this fire engine is that, though he can get on and off all by himself, his little feet just barely touch the ground, so he can't push himself. He'll get on and then lean really far to one side and push himself with just one foot- it's adorable.

Even more adorable is when Eric pushes Eli around the house on it. They go about 90 mph on the wood floors and can do a 360 in about 0.4 seconds flat. Eli loves it. I mean LOVES it. He's less than pleased with Mommy's sorry attempt to push him around the house. :) Clearly, this is a father-son thing. I love to hear the sound of fire engines (toy ones, that is) echo through my house!

Thursday, August 13, 2009

Morning Routine with a Twist

Most mornings Eli and I take a walk. We both love to be outside, and it is about the only time of day that we can be out there without having a heat stroke. Plus it's a good way for me to keep Eli happy and entertained while I have some quiet time to just think and pray and gear up for the day.

By the time we make it down to the end of the walking trail through the park behind our house (about 1.5 miles), I am ready to be high-energy Mommy for the day. :) And Eli is ready to run around and be high-energy himself like he is 24/7. :) I take him out of his stroller and let him run around on the playground. I push him in the swings and listen to him squeal with delight. I chase him and tickle him and get him good and worn out so that he is all too ready to be put back in the stroller for another 1.5 miles home.

I love our morning routine. I love seeing his little feet dangling down off of the stroller. I love watching him point to trees and listening to him babble about who knows what. I love his huge smiles as he swings. I love his laugh as he runs. I love our time outside together, doing something we both enjoy so much.

Today, however that joy was slightly marred. Today my baby had his first big boo-boo, and it broke my heart! We've had our share of bumps and bruises, to be sure, but blood has thus far been avoided. Until today.

The park where we play has this rubbery stuff as the ground surface. It feels like the surface of a track, kind of bouncy. The edges of it slope down to the concrete. As Eli runs around every morning, he definitely gains speed as he goes down the little slope to the concrete, but he manages it fine. Until today. Today he went tearing across the playground, down the little slope, and did a face-plant into the concrete. He started screaming immediately, and I was so scared of what I would find when I lifted him up. There was blood all over his mouth and nose, and I couldn't see where it was coming from. All I knew is that Eli was sad and that there was a lot of blood. I tried to calm him down and used my t-shirt to wipe the blood away. Eli calmed down really quickly, which was a good sign, but the blood kept coming. He wanted to get down and run around again, but the blood was dripping from his little lips. I was chasing my child around trying to wipe blood off of his face with the t-shirt I was wearing. I'm sure it would have been an amusing sight to see.

Long story short, Eli is fine. He scraped up his upper lip pretty badly, but there are no deep cuts. He has a big fat lip that is red and raw from the scrapes, but I don't think he could care any less. :) One bloody boo-boo survived, hundreds more to go, I'm sure.

And you should have seen the look this lady gave me as I passed her on the path. Rightfully so, though- what would you think if you passed a woman whose white t-shirt was covered with blood? :)

Monday, August 10, 2009

One Fish, Two Fish

On Friday Eric and I took Eli to the Dallas World Aquarium. If you've never been, it's definitely worth a trip. Some guy had one brilliant idea when he decided to build a tropical zoo in an old warehouse building right in the middle of downtown Dallas. He's raking it in now, for sure! :)

Anyway, we joined what seemed like half of the Metroplex at the Aquarium for the day and had a really good time. Though it was a little crowded for our taste, we still got to see some fun stuff, and Eli loved looking at things he doesn't see every day...


Like a man feeding a giant sea turtle.


Or a huge spotted sting-ray.


And a steamy pool of eels.

We walked all around, looked at every animal and exhibit, and we finally found Eli's very favorite part of the aquarium:



Pushing his stroller around an open courtyard for 45 minutes. Good thing we spent $18 a person to get into the Aquarium, because he never gets the opportunity to walk around and push things at home.

Seriously, though, we had a really fun time together. We finished out our busy, fun day with a couple hours of swimming, and Eli fell asleep as soon as his head hit his pillow. We wore him out! And after he was asleep and under my parents' watchful care, Eric and I went out to dinner at one of our favorite places and enjoyed a special date. A good time was had by all.

Thursday, August 6, 2009

In with the New

(Except I don't know what the new is, yet.)

See, I love our house. I love it because it is Eric's handiwork top to bottom. He completely gutted and remodeled the entire thing years before we were married. While I was studying my brains out at A&M and butchering the national language in Uzbekistan, here Eric worked, hour by hour, room by room, slab of drywayll by slab of drywall, electrical wire by electrical wire. And then when I got back from college and living overseas, I finally met this wonderful man who would become my husband.

People ask Eric all the time what his motivation was behind all the work he put into this house. His answer? "I was praying as I was working that I could share it someday with my wife. It's for you!"

How I love him, and this house of ours to boot.

Anyway, all of that is just to preface my question... What are some simple, inexpensive ways to make some changes in home decor? I have a fair amount of craftiness but zero brilliant ideas. Seriously, I couldn't think of a good craft to save my life. But if I'm told what to do, I have just the right combo of anal-ness (is that a word?) and raw I-will-not-stop-until-this-is-perfect determination that I can pull off a good craft or two.

So... the parameters:

1. Cheap.
2. Do-it-yourself.
3. Cheap.
4. Not too complicated. (i.e., I want to beat up Martha Stewart every time I see one of her "easy" DIY crafts. I need a few notches down from Martha.)
5. Cheap.

Ideas? Suggestions? Things you've tried and love? I want a new key-holder thingy, for example, maybe in combo with something else pretty and useful. I'll take all the advice I can get.

And then, after I finish my fun little crafts, I'll move out of the house with Eli for 3 days this winter while Eric completely renovates our wood floors, just because we want them to be a darker color. :)

Thursday, July 30, 2009

Score One for Mommy

The scene: A glass shower in Eric's and my bathroom.

The players: Eli Wilson, 1 year. Mommy, 28 years.

Eli's side of the story: "I just love to open and slam shut the glass shower door 2,438 times a day, particularly when my mommy is taking a shower. What's so wrong with that?"

Mommy's side of the story: "I can't stand the door being opened and slammed shut 2,438 times while I am in the shower. First of all, it is annoying and makes me cold. Second of all, it gets the wood floors soaking wet. Third of all, I am afraid that one day, after a particularly hard slam, the door will shatter, leaving both me and Eli severely injured."

The battle: Eli goes for the door. Mommy says no and pulls his hand away. Eli goes for the door. Mommy says no and pulls his hand away. Eli goes for the door. Mommy says no and pulls his hand away. Eli goes for the door. Mommy says no and pulls his hand away. Eli goes for the door. Mommy says no and pulls his hand away. Eli goes for the door. Mommy says no and pulls his hand away. Eli goes for the door. Mommy says no and pulls his hand away. Eli goes for the door. Mommy says no and pulls his hand away. Eli goes for the door. Mommy says no and pulls his hand away.

The outcome: Now, after a simple "no," Eli happily walks away from the shower door, never to slam it again.

Eli's final opinion: "I guess I'll give her this one. I'll save the major battles for public places."

Mommy's final opinion: "I won! I won! I won!"

*Seriously though, I am so excited that Eli seems to be getting the hang of the word "no." Even though he really wants to touch whatever it is that he isn't supposed to be touching, he is listening to and obeying me without much of a fuss. I'm thrilled!

Wednesday, July 29, 2009

Amazing Grace

I am writing through tear-filled eyes and lips that cannot stop praising the amazing God we serve...

Eric's mom, my dear, sweet mother-in-law, after 50+ years of being a practicing Buddhist, has accepted Jesus Christ as her personal Savior.

Her testimony is one of the steady, gentle pursuit of the Lord, and my heart is overflowing with gratitude that we serve a God who loves us so relentlessly. This is the absolute best news that we could receive, and we are rejoicing with the angels in heaven today.

If you do not know Christ, please hear me when I say that there is nothing greater than a personal relationship with Him, and know that I would love to talk with you about anything regarding our sweet Jesus. And if you do know Christ, take a minute and just thank Him quietly for your salvation, and for the grace and love with which He never, ever stops pursuing us. Truly, His grace is amazing.

Monday, July 27, 2009

"Dyeah"

Eli's only words have been, for months and months now, "Mama" and "Dada." Occasionally I'll hear him say, as he's banging on the glass door separating him from the dogs, "Izzie." But will he repeat anything I say to him? Nope. Will he say anything on command? Nope. Will he embarrass me when I proudly announce to my family, "He can say 'shoes'!" only to have him look at me with a blank, silent stare? Yup.

Anyway, Eli has recently added a new word to his vocabulary. Dyeah. He walks around saying that word all day long. Who knows what it means. He obviously is using it for something ("that," maybe?), but I have no idea what it means. Frustrating, to be sure.

So for now I will sit here and regret that I never taught him sign language, because the main form of communication for Eli now is incessant whining and adamant pointing.

Pleeeeeeease, son, learn to SPEAK!

But seriously, how in the world can I get annoyed with this adorable child?



I'll tell you how: You're at the city pool/splash pad, armed with goldfish, cheerios, and juice- all his favorites. Sprinklers, spayers, water, sun- all things he adores. And then he spies it: the stainless steel water bottle you've hidden at the bottom of the beach bag, filled to overflowing, weighing who knows how much (I'm guessing upwards of 37 pounds.). The bottle you packed for yourself to drink out of. The bottle filled with tasteless water instead of the yummy juice in his small, plastic, light-weight sippy cup.

But does he want the snacks? the sippy cup? the pool? Of course not. And does he know how to speak so that he can politely and sweetly ask, "Dearest mother, may I please have a tiny sip of the water in your cup? I will be eternally grateful." No. He cannot speak. As previously stated, whining is his main form of communication.

And so it commences. And any mother who has had a strong-willed toddler will tell you that whining without satiation leads to only one thing: a tantrum. And so, to prevent said tantrum, I let him drink out of my heavy stainless steel water bottle. Crisis averted.

Until I look up for one blasted second to wave to a friend and he drops it on my toe. It took all the self-control that I have been taught for 28 years not to yell an obsenity as I grabbed my foot in agony.

And that, my friends, is how you can be annoyed at this little cutie.



But still. I love him more than the air I breathe, and I'll take a hundred broken toes if it means I get to spend every day with him, listening to him run around the house yelling, "Dyeah! Dyeah! Dyeah!"

Saturday, July 25, 2009

Getting to Know You

For lack of better things to post about, here's one of those "tag 274 of your very closest friends" notes from Facebook. This will eventually show up on Facebook thanks to the handy-dandy note-uploader thingy, so if you are reading it there and not on this blog, then tag yourself and answer away! If you are reading this on the blog, consider yourself tagged as well. I'd love to read more about all of you!

Here goes...

Getting to Know You...Share

1. What time did you get up this morning? 8:30am, a sleep-in Saturday thanks to my sweet husband!

2. How do you like your steak? Medium.

3. What was the last film you saw at the cinema? "My Sister's Keeper." If you want to cry a lot, this is the movie for you. If you like endings that are true to the book, this is not the movie for you.

4. What is your favorite TV show? Amazing Race.

5. If you could live anywhere in the world where would it be? Right here in Mesquite, Texas, because this is where our family, friends, and church are. But if I could magically transport our entire life, people included, to another location, I'd have to go with Greece. It's the most beautiful place Ive ever been, and the food is amazing.

6. What did you have for breakfast? "Huevos con Pappas" from the Pancake House, lovingly (not at all begrudgingly, of course) shared with Eli.

8. What foods do you dislike? I think I'd eat any food in the world as long as fruit and cream are not combined. For some reason I cannot stand the combination of fruity things with creamy things. (Make fun of me at will.)

9. Favorite Place to Eat? Cheesecake Factory.

10. Favorite dressing? Good ol' fatty ranch.

11.What kind of vehicle do you drive? Honda Accord.

12. What are your favorite clothes? Jeans and soft long-sleeve tops in the fall and winter, gym shorts and a tank top over a bathing suit in the summer. :)

13. Where would you visit if you had the chance? The East Coast, to see my grandparents in Maine and Pennsylvania.

14. Cup 1/2 empty or 1/2 full? It depends on my mood.

15. Where would you want to retire? Wherever was close to my family and friends. I wouldn't want to be too far away from the people I care about. I can't ever see us "retiring," though.

16. Favorite time of day? When Eric gets home from work in the afternoons- both me and Eli are so excited to see him.

17. Where were you born? West Chester, Pennsylvania.

18. What is your favorite sport to watch? Baseball in the stadium, football on TV.

19. Bird watcher? Not actively, though I enjoy seeing cool birds when they happen to fly near me.

20. Are you a morning person or a night person? I used to be a morning person. I think now I'm neither. :)

21. Do you have pets? 2 dogs and 2 cats.

22. Any new and exciting news you'd like to share? Nothing from my own life, but the international swimming people outlawed those fancy razor suits that everyone wore at the Olympics last year. Plain old Speedos for everyone. I think this is exciting news. :)

23. What did you want to be when you were little? A teacher, I think.

24. What is your best childhood memory? I had such a great childhood with so many perfect memories. I think my best memories are of summer vacations in New Braunfels.

25. Are you a cat or dog person? I like both. I guess I'd pick dog over cat, though. If it was a good dog.

26. Are you married? Yes.

27. Always wear your seat belt? Absolutely.

28. Been in a car accident? Yup, my sophomore year of college. We were all taken to the hospital, but I was fine except for a bad case of whip lash.

29. Any pet peeves? I hate it when people spell words that should start with a "C" with a "K" instead. Like "Kar Wash" or "Sno Kones." What in the world?

30. Favorite Pizza Toppings? Green peppers, onions, and italian sausage.

31. Favorite Flower? White lilies and hydrangeas.

32. Favorite ice cream? Chocolate chip cookie dough.

33. Favorite fast food restaurant? Chic-Fil-A.

34. How many times did you fail your driver's test? Zero.

35. From whom did you get your last email? A work client.

36. Which store would you choose to max out your credit card? Home Depot for sure.

37. Do anything spontaneous lately? Not really. We have a 1-year-old. Spontaneity is hard to come by. :)

38. Like your job? I only work 1-2 days a week, but I love it. Even more than that I love staying home with Eli.

39. What was your favorite vacation? Honeymoon in Washington State.

40. Last person you went out to dinner with? My favorite person in the world- Eric!

41. What are you listening to right now? The baby monitor.

42. What is your favorite color? Blue.

43. How many tattoos do you have? None at all. When we turn 30, though, my friend Sarah and I want to get tattoos if our husbands don't talk us out of it first. :)

44. How many are you tagging for this quiz? None. Tag yourselves, by all means, though.

45. What time did you finish this quiz? 11:47pm. Goodnight, internet.

Wednesday, July 22, 2009

I Have a Headache

Yesterday and today have been medically interesting. And this time, surprisingly, it wasn't Eli who needed the unexpected trip to the doctor- it was me!

When I got Eli up from his nap yesterday afternoon, I noticed that I couldn't see him very well- my vision was kind of dim in one area of my sight. Thinking it was just because we were in his room with the blinds closed, I walked out into the bright living room. It wasn't better at all- it was worse! I started seeing this wavy, shimmery thing on the side of my vision, and it freaked me out.

I called my mom immediately, because she's a nurse and because she's my mom, and, though calm as always, she was pretty concerned, because she has a rare disorder of blood vessel weakness that caused her to have a mini-stroke at age 44, and it tends to be genetic. And guess what her first and only symptom was? Visual disturbance in one eye!

Of course, I am (internally) going nuts- I am a hypochondriac as it is, but add to it the actual presence of a serious symptom and you've got one scared girl! I called Eric while my mom entertained Eli, and he came right home from work and took me straight to the ER. By the time we left the house, though, my vision was back to normal and I felt great, apart from a headache. But still. We had to get this checked out.

The ER visit was surprisingly quick and easy. I guess if you have such a strange one-sided vision thing they panic and get you right back, because the initial diagnoses for this type of thing are stroke or retinal detachment, both of which must be treated immediately. I was thinking in my head, "I will be very first 28-year-old to have a stroke!" I was also thinking, "This is just like Wild Hearts Can't Be Broken where Sonora loses her vision due to retinal detachment after her horse slipped on the high-jump platform and she plummeted into the water with her eyes open." Of course, I didn't say any of this out loud because apparent mental insanity would only make things worse.

Anyway, after eye dilation, exam, CT scan, and eye sonogram (who knew they did sonograms of the eye?), I was pronounced healthy. The doctor urged me to go to my eye doctor asap, hoping that he could find something that the ER doctors couldn't. He also uttered the words "multiple sclerosis," which of course sent me into a panic and straight to the health-related websites searching for early warning signs of this disease, visual disturbances being among them. (I must stop my hypochondiachal ways!)

Anyway, I am rambling way too much... My wonderful, fabulous eye doctor that I have been seeing since I was in 5th grade squeezed me in this afternoon. While his staff oohed and aahed over Eli as he pushed the rolling chairs all around the waiting room, I got the most thorough eye exam known to man.

The diagnosis? No, not a stroke or a retinal detachment like we feared... occular migraines. Basically a migraine headache that doesn't manifest itself so much in pain but more in visual disturbances that last for about 20 minutes and then go away completely, leaving you with a headache. That's all! We are so relieved!

Though I'm sad that we spent probably thousands of dollars at the ER, I am so thankful that it is only a migraine thing that will probably only occur every once in a while and is relatively harmless. It's crazy how life can change in an instant when health issues are at stake.

But tonight the Wilson household will all sleep safely in our beds here at home and thank God for healthy, normal days.

Monday, July 20, 2009

Weekend Hi-Lights

Favorite Moments of the Weekend:

1. Eric brought me flowers on Friday afternoon, as a prelude to the great date we had on Friday night. You just can't top Primo's on Lake Ray Hubbard.

2. He also bought several drinks developed by yours truly. Most of you know that I work for a flavor company. We make all kinds of flavors for ice creams, candies, drinks, baked goods, etc. Blue Bell, Sara Lee, and tons of other places buy our flavors, and products sold by our clients are available everywhere. I rarely notice them, and I honestly don't even know the extent of what we sell and who we sell to. But we walked into Albertson's the other day and right there in the front display were my drinks! This project consumed all my time and energy for several long months before I went on bed rest with Eli. I never really knew what happened with it- who bought it, how it was being sold, etc. But then there they were, in all their glory- my beautiful, sugar-y, artificially flavored beverages. I made them! Me! My college education paid off! :) Anyway, Eric came home home with all the flavors on Friday so that my family could taste them this weekend. :) It made me happy that he was so proud of me.



3. I got to sleep in until after 9am both Saturday and Sunday. I have such a sweet, selfless husband. He wakes up at 4:15am every week day, as opposed to me waking up at 7am with Eli, so you'd think he would be the one needing a little sleeping in. But instead he almost always gets up with Eli on the weekends, and I feel so spoiled!

4. Lots of sun and swimming, and even some pool volleyball.



5. We visited Eric's mom and step-dad in Fort Worth on Saturday afternoon, and we had such a great time. They just moved into a new house that has tons of space for Eli to run around. We had such a great time with them.

6. And the best part of the entire weekend is an amazing testimony to the grace and pursuit of God. I can't wait to tell you guys about it, but I need to wait a little longer. Eric and I both were moved to tears by this incredible answer to prayer and the amazing work the Lord is doing in the life of someone we care about so deeply.

What was your favorite part of the weekend?

Thursday, July 16, 2009

Throwing a Fit 101

How to Throw a Supremely Terrorizing Fit
by Eli Wilson

1. Act deceptively happy when Mommy takes you to swimming lessons. Display mock enjoyment at the variety of activities offered at the pool. Convince your mommy that you are having a terrific time.

2. After she is thoroughly convinced, drastically and immediately change your mood. Become unbearably sad. Fuss a lot, squirm even more, and make sure to make all the other moms look in your direction.

3. When mommy is sufficiently frustrated by your behavior, it is time to turn it up, both in volume and in attitude. Begin screaming uncontrollably. Push away from your mommy so that it is nearly impossible for her to hold you in the water. Once again, make sure that everyone in the entire pool is looking at you.

4. After mommy gives up on the idea of finishing class and begins to get out of the water, lunge dramatically at the side of the pool so that she sets you down on the side, thinking that this is what you want.

5. Now is the time to really put on a show. As soon as you are on the edge of the pool, scream as loudly as possible, arch your back, and throw yourself onto the hot concrete, kicking and screaming all the while. Act like you absolutely despise the woman who birthed you and want nothing to do with her.

6. As soon as your mommy carries you over to the shade to get you dressed, and when you are completely sure that she is frazzled, embarrassed, and losing her patience, do a 180-degree turn-a-round, deciding that now your mommy is all that you want in the world. If she puts you town for 3.4 seconds to wrap a towel around herself, cry the most heart-breaking cry that you can muster so that all the moms in the area are propelled to ask your mommy, "Why, what is wrong with your precious boy?" See? They're all on your side now!

7. When mommy manages to get you dressed, despite the screaming and clinging, and takes you to the car, settle comfortably into your seat, drink your juice, eat your snack, and play contentedly with your toys. Act like nothing ever happened.

8. Fall alseep in the car so that when your mommy goes to get you out when you get home, she sees your sweet little sleeping face, complete with gorgeous eyelashes, incredibly soft skin, and hair that smells so yummy. When she picks you up, snuggle against her so that she questions whether the precious being she is holding is actually capable of the events that just occurred. Congratulations, you have won your battle.

(But not the war!!!)

Monday, July 13, 2009

The Shack

Has anyone read The Shack? The author's name is escaping me right now. I'm pressing on through it because about a million people I know are singing its praises, but I must admit that I'm having a hard time. There are several theological discrepancies, in my opinion, and if I can pick those things out, that's saying something. :) Also, the writing is slightly I-just-took-a-writing-course-and-now-know-how-to-use-tons-of-corny-similes for me. But everyone keeps saying to keep on going, because it will change my life.

Opinions? Encouragements to press on? :)

Sunday, July 5, 2009

I'm the Mom...

...who everyone feels sorry for when they see her scarfing down her hamburger on a picnic blanket as her child smears gooey animal crackers all over his body and lunges for open cans of Dr. Pepper, as all the other adults enjoy their meals at big people tables.

...who gets all the stares in Bed, Bath, and Beyond because her son is throwing a fit because he can't get down on the floor and run around, thanks to his mom, who forgot to put shoes on her newly walking child.

...who is blissfully happy with her life and wouldn't trade it for anything in the world!

Seriously though- you know you've been in some store and stared slightly judgementally at the person with the tantrum-throwing child. I've been there and done that, at least before I had a kid of my own. Now when I see a mom with a screaming, squirming kid in her arms, I am very tempted to ask her if I can take him away from her for a minute so she can have a break! :)

And you know you've been eating a great meal, savoring every bite, while you watch with some pity the mom with kids who sits near you and inhales her food before her little ones squish her hamburger in their fists or take off in the other direction at top speed. Again, been there and done that, before I had a child of my own. Now there is no pity, just a smile of happy understanding as I inhale my own hamburger. :)

It's funny how much life changes with the addition of a child (or two or three or four), and, while it can be harrowing and patience-testing at times, I seriously wouldn't trade it for anything in the whole wide world. I'll take a big hug from a kid with ketchup-y hands... I'll chase my toddler through a store... I'll take all of those little "moments," because it means that I get to be Eli's mom. And there is no greater joy in the world!

We had a wonderful holiday weekend- I hope that you guys all enjoyed your time with family and friends as well.

Tuesday, June 30, 2009

I Need Some Mommy Advice

Question: How do you teach your kid not to throw a fit on the changing table?

Eli has developed this delightful little habit of going insane every time I lay him down on the changing table. Nothing I do/say makes him stay still long enough to change his diaper. What do I do? One of these days he's going to throw himself right off and get really hurt, that or I'll totally lose my temper with him- neither of which will be pretty.

Any advice? I'll try anything! :)

Sunday, June 28, 2009

Happy

Eric, me, my sisters, and my brothers-in-law were all goofing around in my parents' pool on Saturday evening. My dad came out to say goodbye to us before they left for a church elder get-together. Since the party host has a pool as well, we asked if everyone was going swimming. My dad responded, "I doubt it. What are a bunch of adults supposed to do in a pool?"

We all looked around and just laughed- here we were, a bunch of adults, playing Marco Polo, having chicken fights, throwing each other around, laughing like crazy people...

I love summer. I love, love, LOVE summer. I love the slower pace, the heat, the sunny mornings and long evenings. I love swimming and watering flowers and grilling out and sitting on the porch swing. I love sharing all of this with my family.

We are blessed, and I don't ever want to take that for granted. We don't know what tomorrow will bring- none of us do, but, as Solomon wrote in Ecclesiastes, "When times are good, be happy..." And so I am trying hard to relax and enjoy the beautiful life God has given to us today without worrying about what might happen tomorrow. Because (going back to that verse in Ecclesiastes), the Lord is the maker of both the good days and the bad days. That means that I can trust Him whatever the day brings, good or bad or anywhere in between.

Sunday, June 21, 2009

Look Who's Walking

Well, actually, read about who's walking, because I don't have a picture or a video or any sort of visual proof to substantiate my claim that...

Eli is walking!

He's been taking a few independent steps here and there for a month now, and has been walking holding onto our fingers for the past week, but today he walked 16 consecutive steps all by himself, right into my waiting arms. Eric and I were both there to see it, and we were both so proud of our little boy!

Since those inaugural steps, all he wants to do is walk, walk, and walk some more. Needless to say, he's had a few falls today, complete with several hard knocks on the head. He's tough stuff, though, and keeps right on going.

I'm so proud of my baby!

Tuesday, June 16, 2009

Hitting the Bottle

Most children transition from formula to cow's milk. Eli has decided to skip the cow's milk and go straight for the good stuff.



Disclaimers:
-NO, we do not give our 1-year-old alcoholic beverages.
-NO, we do not normally buy ginormous bottles of wine like this- it was left over from a big dinner party we had.
-NO, we are not bad people.
-YES, we think this picture is too funny not to be posted.

Tuesday, June 9, 2009

Overwhelmed

The word "overwhelmed" tends to carry with it a negative connotation. Overwhelmed with work, activities, emotions, stress, life... And I have certainly felt the negative context of this word before. But I think the positive is much better.

Tonight I am feeling overwhelmed with love.

I always feed Eli at 10:30pm before I go to bed, just so he can get a few extra calories. I love these times with him, because he is deep in sleep, cozy and warm snuggled against me. After I feed him I just rock him for a long time, because I find it so hard to put him down. I pray for him and praise God for him, and I am again and again overwhelmed with love.

Do you ever just look at your child and well up with tears? Does the way they smile, the sound of their laugh, a new milestone, the feel of their soft skin just cause you to melt? Do you hold your sleeping little one for long into the night, just because you can't bear to put them down? Do you delight in seeing all the ways they grow and change, all the new things they learn?

Oh, what a joy it is to experience this kind of love, this all-consuming, overwhelming love for a child. What a humbling blessing to experience it.

Tonight as I was rocking Eli and talking to the Lord, He reminded me that He feels the same about me, only much, much more. What?!? How can that be? How can the God of the universe take that much delight in me? Why would He want to hold me, to listen to me, to spend time with me, to watch me learn and grow? I certainly don't deserve even a glimmer of His kindness, but by His grace, the blood of Jesus Christ allows me to experience this kind of overwhelming love.

Can you picture it in your mind? A mother holds her child, singing over him with joy and love. And a Father holds them both, singing all the more.

I am overwhelmed.

Remember today, friends, how deeply, overwhelmingly loved you are by the Lord.

"The Lord your God is with you, He is mighty to save. He will exult over you with joy, He will quiet you with His love, He will rejoice over you with singing." (Zephaniah 3:17)

Saturday, June 6, 2009

SICK

Well, after a week of wondering what was "up" with my slightly-more-clingy-and-tired-than-usual-but-otherwise-symptom-free child, I found out today.

Last night Eric and I went out for his birthday (We ate at a Japanese restaraunt and then saw Up, which was fantastic!), leaving Eli with my mom for the evening. When we dropped him off, he was happy and healthy. When I picked him up out of the pack-n-play late that night, he was burning up with fever. We took him home and took his temperature, and, sure enough, it was 103 degrees! We tried to get him to drink lots of water and gave him some tylenol, and it came down to a more bearable number after a while. I slept for a couple hours and then woke up again to give him more tylenol, and he didn't sleep very well from then on. The poor guy was (is!) just plain miserable.

I had hoped that our pediatrician, who is "open most Saturday mornings" would be open this Saturday morning, and I felt fine taking Eli there by myself like I usually do. So Eric left for his 100k cycling race, and I waited for the pediatrician to open so I could call for an appointment. Of course, this is one of the few Saturdays that they were closed. :( So that meant PrimaCare (local urgent care center, one step down from the ER), which scares the heck out of me: doctors I don't know doing things that they don't explain to my sick and screaming baby. I called my mom and begged her to come with me, and she very sweetly obliged. She used to work at PrimaCare as a nurse, so she knows the staff there and can get us the "royal treatment"- what a perk!

So, two and a half hours, 4 chest x-rays, one blood draw, one thorough examination, one dose of baby motrin, and one shot of antibiotics later, we found out that Eli has double ear infections, strep throat, and a slight pneumonia in his right lung. I feel terrible for him- my poor, sick baby.

We've been giving him tylenol and motrin to keep his fever down and have a prescription ready to start tonight, so hopefully he'll start to feel better soon. In the meantime, I'll be holding my poor sick baby as much as he wants and praying for some relief for his poor body.

A good thing that came out of this is that now we know why Eli didn't want to eat this week! I was so frustrated and discouraged, but now I know that there was a reason behind it. So hopefully once he starts to feel better, he'll start eating more too. That's what I'm praying for.

And never again will I doubt my mother's intuition. I knew since Monday that there was something "off" with Eli, but since he was acting fine and didn't have any symptoms, I didn't say anything or take him to the doctor. Next time I'll trust myself a little more and take him to the doctor sooner.

Eli is sleeping away in his crib, and Eric is laying here on the floor in the office fast asleep, too. (I guess 100k on a bike is slightly tiring.) I hope that the rest of our weekend is restful and restorative for all of us.

Wednesday, June 3, 2009

Up and Down, Up and Down

The past few weeks have definitely been a "down" as far as Eli's eating habits go. He is dropping feedings and not liking the bottle much any more, which is normal for one-year-olds. But the problem is that he is getting almost no nutrition anywhere else, so we can't afford for him to drop the bottle yet! He just doesn't enjoy eating- period.

I talked for a long time with his therapist this week, and she encouraged us to just continue doing what we're doing, that the path we're taking is the path we need to be on. But on days when Eli is refusing both the bottle and table food, I am left completely frazzled.

We took him to his normal GI doctor check-up yesterday, and I think Eric and I were both convinced that she would say he needs a feeding tube. I thought that we had reached that point. Like we thought, he hadn't gained any weight in a month, which further confirmed to me that it was feeding tube time. We had prayed and prayed the night before for wisdom from the Lord, because, as much as we want what is best for our child, we have no idea what that is.

The Lord answered our prayers through Eli's GI doctor, Dr. Whitney. She was discouraged that he hadn't gained weight, but she was incredibly encouraging regarding his general health and development. He is exactly where he needs to be for a one-year-old, and he is so healthy- she said that if he weren't getting adequate nutrition, he'd be getting really sick all the time and wouldn't be meeting developmental milestones. We asked about a feeding tube, and she said, "I don't want to take that step yet. It's a big one, and I'm just not comfortable with that yet." We asked if we needed a more agressive feeding therapy (like the inpatient clinic at Baylor), and she said, "He's not ready yet. You need to keep doing exactly what you're doing." She encouraged us to continue on the path we're on, to squeeze as many calories as we can into every bite he eats, and to come back in a month to re-evaluate. She checked his blood levels, too, to make sure that he is good from a nutritional standpoint. And the final piece of advice from Dr. Whitney? "Mom, don't worry. Just relax about this. Take baby steps with him, and DON'T WORRY."

I'd call that an answer to prayer. :) Wisdom from the Lord, through the mouth of a doctor that we like and trust so much.

So, that's the path that we will continue down. I would so appreciate prayer for us during this time- first, that Eli would increase his intake and learn to love to eat all kinds of food from a spoon, and second, that I would not worry and just diligently walk down this many times discouraging path with him. Please also pray for continued wisdom, both for Eric and me and for Dr. Whitney. We have avoided a feeding tube thus far and would like to continue to do so, but we so desperately want to do what is best for Eli.

I feel like it is time for a miracle. Please, Lord, work mightily!

In all areas aside from eating, Eli is doing just great. He has completely caught up to his full-term peers developmentally, is saying words, taking steps, and bringing joy and laughter to our lives every single day. To look at him, you'd never know he had a feeding problem!



But we will continue on this up and down path of Eli's eating habits, praying all the way. And trying to keep thankful, cheerful hearts, because, truly, we have so much to be thankful for.

(The picture above is of Eli gnawing on beef jerky. This is one of his favorite things to chew on- what a man!)