Friday, May 29, 2009

"Baby Steps, Get on the Elevator"

Eli is starting to walk! He's been standing without holding onto anything for a while now, but just this week he has started taking a step or two. He gets nervous, I think, and drops to the ground to crawl, but I've seen as many as three steps in a row before he drops. It's the cutest thing to watch- he is so little, so it looks like he shouldn't be able to walk yet, even though he's a year old. I think he's the most adorable little thing in the world.

So here's to baby steps- what a big milestone for a baby who has come so far!

P.S. Imaginary bonus points for anyone who names the movie where "Baby steps, get on the elevator" comes from. You can't find a better movie, in my humble, corny-humor-loving opinion! :)

Friday, May 22, 2009

When Eli Slams a Door...

...He opens it and then slams it again, about 2,641 times. :) This is his new favorite thing- opening and closing all doors, cabinets, etc. Not only does the constant banging drive me insane, but I am all the time listening for a scream that indicates that he's smashed his fingers. At the same time, though, it's so boy, and it's so cute.

He also whistles now. He's been pursing his lips together in this cute expression for a while, but he just figured out that when he blows through his lips, he can whistle. Eric and I just laugh as we listen to him crawl around the house whistling.

He loves to read Pat the Bunny and Dear Zoo and will hand them to me over and over again to read until I finally hide them where he can't find them. :) He allows no other books to be read.

He loves to stand up on his own, play peek-a-boo with himself in the full-length mirror, pick up and push any ball he can find, and bang relentlessly on his toy piano. Our house is noisy and covered with toys, but it is a happy house. Eli makes sure of that.

Oh, how I love this boy, door-slamming and all.

Monday, May 18, 2009

Road Trip

This weekend we drove to Oklahoma for Eric's sister's graduation. We were a little nervous about taking Eli on such a whirlwind trip and having him miss his naps, stay up late, etc... Those of you with kids know that things can go one of two ways: One, your baby goes insane and you end up missing all events and activities because you are standing outside holding your screaming child, or, two, your baby surprises you by how well he does and you're glad you brought him along.

Fortunately, Eli fell into the second category. :) He did great! We were so glad that we could be there to celebrate Jennifer's graduation and to see the family. We got exactly zero good pictures of Jennifer- they're all super blurry because we were so far away. So here are a few of Eli and us...

Eli loved exploring the hotel room.

Eli and me waiting for graduation to start. Fortunately, there were a lot of other kids there too, so it didn't matter that he was a little noisy. :)

Eric and Eli posing on Eric's brother's motorcycle. NO, I did not let them go for a ride. :)

Today we are just hanging out at home, getting back into our routine, and enjoying the gorgeous weather.

We had a great time this weekend and look forward to another trip to Oklahoma this summer so that we can spend more time with our dear family. Love you guys!

Monday, May 11, 2009

First Birthday/Mother's Day Weekend

I had the most perfect weekend ever. The whole weekend was a celebration, and I can't help but be anything but thankful for what the Lord has given to us.

On Saturday we celebrated Eli's first birthday. I know that first birthdays are always really special celebrations, but I feel like the first birthday of a preemie with such a rough start in life has a little extra specialness thrown in. I was so emotional all day long, thinking about how far God has brought my baby over the course of the past year. I set my alarm for 5:04am so that I could go in and kiss Eli's cheek at the exact moment that he came into the world one year ago. I was surprised that Eric wasn't in bed when I got up- I found him sitting at the kitchen table writing a letter to Eli in his birthday card. My heart melted when I saw this and when I later read his precious words to our son.

Eli was in the best mood on Saturday, for which I was so thankful. He's teething, so some days he's kind of a fuss, and I so wanted him to enjoy his birthday without fussiness. After he woke up we took him to my mom for the morning- she was so excited to spend time with the birthday boy, and Eric and I wanted a little time to just reminisce about the past year. We went to breakfast and had such a good time talking, and then we went and bought tons of helium balloons for Eli. It was so fun stuffing them all into the back of the car. There are few happier sights than a car stuffed with bright balloons, in my opinion!

We spent the afternoon decorating the back porch and yard, and then the whole family (minus Eric's dad and step-mom- we missed you guys!) and some friends came over to celebrate with us. The weather was gorgeous, and everyone really enjoyed just talking and drinking lemonade and being outside in the pretty weather. Eli opened his gifts and really loved them all, and then we sat him in his high chair and put his cake in front of him and sang "Happy Birthday" to him. I was really teary. When he was born I never even got to hold him. He spent the first 48 hours of his life apart from his mommy, fighting for his life. This year I got to kiss my baby on his cheek as we sang to him, and I will never, ever forget that feeling.

And God answered my specific prayer that Eli would eat some of his birthday cake! With all his feeding difficulties, I was sad that he may not even want cake. But he did, and I was so happy to watch him get all messy with cake and ice cream.

Eric played frisbee golf on Saturday evening with Phil and my dad, as part of Phil's birthday celebration (He and Eli share the same birthday.), so I got to be the one to put Eli to bed. (Eric almost always does this.) It was the most precious moment of my day to rock my baby to sleep and quietly sing "Happy Birthday" in his ear, reminding him again and again of how special he is to me, and praising God for the little miracle in my arms.

On Saturday we really enjoyed being with the whole family for Phil's birthday dinner. I couldn't ask for a better family. Every time we're all together I am reminded of how truly blessed we are.

On Sunday morning I was awakened by Eli's little hands on my face. He was sitting on our bed, holding a card that "he" had written for me. Eric wrote the sweetest note to me "from Eli." It made me cry. Then I got another card from Eric, along with the prettiest bouquet tulips and a gorgeous bouquet of pale pink roses. He also ordered me a book that I have been wanting, though it hasn't gotten here yet. We had breakfast with the whole family- the boys all cooked for the girls- and we gave my mom her presents. We had a great time worshipping together in church, too.

I loved spending the afternoon and evening with Eric and Eli- I love them more than anything in the world. This was truly one of the best weekends I think I have ever had. The Lord really gave me "new eyes," I think, to clearly see all the amazing miracles that He has done in Eli's life rather than focusing on the lingering "preemie issues" that Eli has. I am overwhelmed with joy and thankfulness, and so humbled by His grace on a sinner like me.

Happy Mother's Day!

Thursday, May 7, 2009

1 Year Old

My dear, sweet Eli,

Today you are one year old. I have to admit that one year ago I couldn't even imagine watching you play in your birthday cake as your friends and family sang to you. One year ago you were 2# 13 oz. and 14 inches long. You were sick and tiny and had to have a machine to breathe for you. I couldn't hold you for 2 days. You spent 6 weeks in the hospital, fighting so hard to live, to grow, to come home.

And look at you now! At one year old, you are more than 15.5#, more than 26.5 inches tall, healthy, happy, strong, and full of energy. You are crawling, pulling up, cruising, standing, babbling, and learning so much every single day. You are perfect, Eli! Small but mighty, you remind us every day of just how amazing you are and of the great works God has done in your life.

God has truly been your salvation, Elisha Dane. He has carried you through some scary times this year, and He has never left us. You will always be the very clearest, most tangible reminder to your Daddy and me of God's faithfulness and power.

Do you have any idea how much we love you? You are our joy, Eli, the light of our lives. And we are so incredibly thankful and excited to celebrate your first birthday with you today.

Keep on amazing us, baby boy. We firmly believe that God has special, big plans for your life. We are honored to be your parents, and we couldn't love you more.

Happy birthday, my precious baby!



Today Eli said "banana." It was a complete accident, but still. :) It's a big word for a baby to say...

A baby who is not that much of a baby any more! I can't believe Eli will be one year old on Saturday! On the one hand, it seems like forever since I first looked into his big blue eyes and kissed his sweet face. But on the other hand, I am amazed at how fast this year has gone by. How right all those many moms were when they told me not to miss a single moment, because it all goes by so quickly.

Eli and I have had a good week here at home, darting outside whenever the sun decides to peek out for a moment or two, and spending lots of time on the porch swing out back. Eli loves to be outside and cries if I carry him near the door and don't actually go out. He spends quite a bit of time standing against the back door, banging and yelling and driving the dogs insane. :)

I didn't think I would make it through the first few days of this week. In a fit of insanity, I purchased Jilian Michaels' "30 Day Shred." I thought, "How hard could it be?" I didn't think I was that out of shape- I walk for 45 minutes at least 5 days a week, and I'm not a lazy bum (usually). "How hard could a 20 minute DVD workout be?"

Answer: VERY VERY VERY HARD. Oh. My. Goodness. I literally didn't think I would be able to walk down the 3 steps of our porch to get into my car for work on Tuesday morning. Every time I had to sit down or stand up I groaned out loud in spite of myself. Eric affectionately squeezed my knee in the car on the way to Awana club and I almost jumped out of my skin. Lifting little Eli became a feat of Olympic proportions.

Jilian Michaels is one tough cookie. And I am one big weenie. But one big quitter I am not. I have done the workout for 4 days straight and am happy to report that my legs are starting to feel somewhat normal again. My left bicep, on the other hand, feels like someone beat me with a crowbar for an hour straight. But we'll focus on the positive. And hope and pray that the 20 minutes of pain I'm determined to put myself through every day will pay off at least a little.

Tomorrow I have Heather's kids as usual, and a whole list of things I need to get done for Eli's party on Saturday. I am so excited to bake my son's first birthday cake! I just hope he actually eats a little of it. I have been praying for a long time now that he would eat his cake on his birthday. It seems like a silly prayer, I know, but we have battled this feeding thing for so long, and it would just be so encouraging to see him eat birthday cake. A special blessing from God.

I hope you all have a great weekend!

Sunday, May 3, 2009

Ordinary Days

My family has always believed that "ordinary days" are the best blessing from the Lord. Eric and I try really hard to praise God for every single "ordinary day" that we've been given. We've had a lot of ordinary days lately, full of the happiness of family.

Izzie is growing at a shocking rate. She's tough stuff, too- playful, muscular, full of energy, and oh so sweet. We found out that she's a mix of lab and sharpe (not lab and australian shepherd, like we thought), so her wrinkles are finally explained. :) Eli loves her, and the feeling is mutual, for sure.

This weekend my dear friend Amanda got married in San Marcos. My mom and I were able to drive down for the wedding, and I'm so glad that we did. We stupidly forgot both of our cameras, however, so we have no pictures to prove that we were actually there. :)

Eric undertook Eli's birthday present today... a swingset! He worked all afternoon on building a swingset for our one-year-old, and it looks great. I need to get some ribbon and tie a big bow on it so we can "officially" give it to Eli on Saturday at his birthday party.

I can't believe that my baby is turning one year old. I get emotional just thinking about it! (What a mom!) We're having both sides of the family and a few friends over on Saturday to celebrate with us. Hopefully the weather will be nice so that we can all hang out in the back yard and eat cake and ice cream. I am so looking forward to celebrating this special day with the people that love Eli the most.

I hope all of you are having plenty of ordinary days for which to praise the Lord!