Wednesday, January 9, 2013

11 months down, 1 to go...

Dear Eli,
Well here we are, writing your 11 month letter. The days are going too quickly as we count down to your first birthday! You are so fun right now as you are getting more and more mobile and spend so much time exploring your world.
Right now it is so fun watching you do the things you love. You absolutely LOVE music and will often sing along, especially at church. You dance by shaking your head up and down, and wiggling your little bottom. If you're crawling when you hear music, you stop on your hands and knees and rock back and forth.
A few weeks ago at church you learned to clap for the first time. You were waving your hands to the music and brought them together in front of you and as soon as you realized what you had done, you just kept doing it again and again! You are very ticklish and it is so easy to get you laughing with a little tickle. You also love to play chase and peek a bo. One of the sweetest things you do right now is giving us a hug whenever your dad or I pick you up. You are getting so fast at cruising around furniture-you prefer to be standing and move around this way rather than crawl, and you pull yourself up on everything you possibly can!

It has been so fun to begin to share the holidays with you. You love Christmas lights and it's been fun getting to tell you about our holiday traditions and the meaning of Christmas as we put our decorations out.

You continue to love food. We try new table foods all the time and you are really good at getting food to your mouth. You also figured out how to chew and swallow better, so there is a lot less choking going on! I can't really say what your favorites are because you seriously eat everything we put in front of you! You now have 6 teeth-four more came in on top, just about at the same time!

Eli, we love you and just can't wait to celebrate your birthday. It's hard to believe our little baby isn't much of a baby anymore, but it is just a pleasure and a joy to see you grow more and more into your personality.
Love, Mom and Dad

Wednesday, November 28, 2012

Eli's 10th month

Dear Eli,
You are 10 months old! I'm having a hard time believing that when we celebrate your 11 month-iversary, we'll begin counting down the final month of your first year!

This month we celebrated your first Halloween. We dressed you up as a lobster and your dad and I were chefs. You seemed to enjoy riding around in your stock pot, as we showed you off to the students at mom's work! You got to explore the insides of a pumpkin in your typical inquisitive way.

You are really on the move! You've figured out how to really crawl and get going so fast. You pull yourself up on everything and get frustrated when there's nothing for you to pull yourself up with. You've also started walking around furniture while holding on.

You get so much joy out of life. You love to play chase and giggle when we catch you. You are extremely ticklish and it's such a fun way to make you laugh! You love to swing, and I am grateful that we've continued to have some good weather days and live close enough to the park to walk there on a nice day. You absolutely adore animals and squeal with delight (and start chasing them down!) whenever you see Max or Lewis walk by you, or Bailey the little dog at day care (especially when she comes to give you kisses!). You also make silly faces-my favorite is when you stick your tongue out of your mouth quickly-you look just like a little lizard!

We keep trying some new table foods. You love to eat and will try anything we give you (and have yet to dislike something we've given you). You aren't great at chewing before you swallow, so the table foods have been slow going (plus, you just shove as much in your mouth as you can!) but we will keep trying. This month we tried blueberries, zucchini, different kinds of yogurt, applesauce, and teething cookies.

It is so fun to watch you continue to discover your world. I know the adventure is just beginning! We love you, sweet boy, and just can't get enough of you!
Mom and Dad

Tuesday, October 23, 2012

7, 8, 9...

Yes, I can still count...which makes me feel like a pretty terrible mom. I thought missing one month was bad...but three??? Therefore, this is a summary of the last QUARTER OF A YEAR (ridiculous, Mara. Just ridiculous!)

Eli's 9 month measurements:
Weight: 18 lbs, 0.6 oz (24th %)
Height: 26 3/4 inches (4th %)
Head: 17 inches (10th %).

Dear Eli,
The past three months have been such a huge developmental time for you. After learning to roll over just after you turned 6 months old, you started to get the bug to move. Once you realized you could control your body, you started sleeping on your stomach. Then, you began to realize you could propel yourself forward-similar to the dance move "the worm"! I thought crawling would be next, but instead you've perfected this move and can get across a room in no time! You can go from "crawling" to sitting up, and back to crawling all on your own.
You are really beginning to explore things more and take a lot of time to intently study whatever you find in your hands. You love to play with the car keys and whatever is in my hand, too! You have started to remember things that you like and as soon as you see them, go for them-like turning the light switch on and off and playing with the door stop. You still love bath time and splashing is so much more fun now that you can sit up!
We've continued the solid food adventures and so far you love everything you've been given: green beans, peas, avocado, banana, apple, pear, spinach, sweet potato, prunes, carrots, beets, black beans, mango, puffs, oatmeal, squash, and bread. We are just starting to give you pieces of things (like bread, whole peas, and beans) and you love to play with your food and explore it before you eat it.
You make all kinds of sounds: mama, dada, baba, squeals and shrieks. You've started to wave bye bye and give high fives. And, about a month ago, you got two teeth! They sure have made your smile cute!
I am really trying to cherish the (rare) moments when you give me cuddles. Now that you can move on your own, you'd rather be on the floor than be held in our arms. But at night, when you're really sleepy, you'll lay your head on my shoulder. Those are some of my favorite moments-sitting in the dark of your room, rocking in our chair, while your cheek rests against mine, or your head is tucked just under my chin. I know it won't fit there much longer, but I hope you'll always find time to cuddle your mama.
You love to play and laugh-you're so ticklish and it's so easy to get a giggle and big smile out of you! You smile big every time your dad comes in the room, and when we come to pick you up at daycare you squeal and bounce until we come and pick you up.
Eli, as we enter the final quarter of your first year, I pray that we can continue to find moments of joy, laughter, and fun in the midst of our busy lives. As you get more mobile and independent, I feel torn-between the pleasure of watching you grow and become more of your own person, and missing how much you used to need me for everything-food, transportation, and entertainment. I know as you get older the ways you rely on your dad and I change-not that either one is better than the other, just different. But it's just another way for me to realize how quickly this first year goes.

Eli, sweet boy, we love you so much! I can't imagine a world without you in it to brighten our every minute.
Love, Mom and Dad

A casualty!

Tuesday, July 24, 2012

6 months-Half a Year!!

6 Months:
16 lbs, 3 oz (25th percentile)
25 1/4 inches (5th percentile)
Head circumference 16.5 inches (12th percentile)

Dear Eli,
I can't believe you're 6 months old! I cannot believe you've graced our lives for half of a year. With each month that passes we get to know each other better and my love for you continues to grow and develop.
We had a couple of big events this past month: on June 24th, you were baptized! Your grandpa Dennis came down and did the baptism, and we got to share the day with both of our families as you were baptized at Centenary United Methodist Church in Beatrice. It was so amazing to be reminded of the grace and love that God has shown at work in your life already-and it was incredible to witness to that grace and love alongside everyone who celebrated with us. Later that day (which was your dad and I's 6th anniversary!) we left you with Grandma and Grandpa Bailey for our first night away from each other so that your dad and I could celebrate our anniversary. We all did really well and made it!
This month was also about a battle of the wills. Right before our planned night away from you, you decided you didn't want to take bottles anymore (a complete 180 from a few months ago when you didn't want your mamma at all!). So we spent a day waiting you out and eventually you took the bottle again-and we've had no problems since! Your dad and I also decided to work harder on your nighttime schedule since you were still getting up to eat every 3-4 hours. After a few hard nights with lots of tears (from you and me!) you now sleep 8-9 hours and then wake up for one feeding a night-and I am SO GRATEFUL! we are both doing better with more sleep!
You also had a big milestone, as you had your first taste of solid food! I am so proud and grateful that your only food source up until now has been what I could provide-your mother's milk. But it was time to start teaching you how to eat solid foods-you were so interested in what we were eating and I just felt like it was time! So, when you were 5.5 months old, we gave you rice cereal for the first time (mixed with Momma's milk). You've also tried avocado, which you really love! You seem to really enjoy being a big boy at the table and love to "help" me feed you!
You are so fun right now. You are so ticklish and love to laugh. You don't roll over yet but you rock from side to side and go to sleep on your side. You love being held up so that you can stand up, and you sit up with help. You take in the world around you-always taking some time to "inspect" people but warming up to them quickly. Your hair is coming back in, and it's lighter than when you were first born. Everyone says you look just like your daddy and I see it more and more every day. We have a small pool for you in the backyard and you love to splash in it, just like at bathtime. You read books with dad almost every night before bed and love to look at the pictures. You've discovered your feet and love to grab them-you try to put them in your mouth but you need to become just a little more flexible! You say "daddadadada" and make lots of other sounds (vooo, grunts, shrieks). I know this next month will bring even more development, and I can't wait to see it! We love you so much, little man-thanks for bringing so much joy to our lives!!

Can I eat these yet??

Just chillin-cause I'm 6 months old!

Thursday, July 5, 2012

Homemade Lime Tortilla Chips

What's this? A post when it's not my son's month-iversary? I know, I know...but this recipe was so easy and delicious I had to share!
We grilled up a great meal on Father's Day this year, and while we waited for the food to cook I whipped up these homemade tortilla chips with some leftover corn tortillas we had in the fridge (don't you hate how they come in packs of 30? I only ever use like 8 at a time...). We then ate them with some salsa for an appetizer.
The recipe is based on a recipe from my recent issue of Eating Well, but I adapted it to use up some lime zest I had from a previous recipe.
Here it is:

Preheat oven to 375 degrees.
Coat both sides of 8 corn tortillas (I doubled the batch) with cooking spray; cut into quarters (a pizza cutter makes this very easy!)
Spread on 2 large baking sheets
Sprinkle with 1/4 t salt (1/2 for double chips)
Sprinkle with zest of one lime

Bake at 375 on the middle and lower racks, rotating the pans from top to bottom and stirring once halfway through until crisp-14-18 minutes.

What I learned: measure your salt. Ours ended up way too salty when I decided to just "throw some salt on". Also, I made a mess trying to get lime zest and salt on both sides-just put them on one, they will turn out great!
I can't speak for how well they keep, as we went through them pretty quickly! I think there were a few leftover the next day, which Jon ate and seemed to enjoy...they would keep well in a ziplock bag, I'd imagine! These will be the star of your next fiesta-themed party or tailgate!

Wednesday, June 13, 2012

5 months!

Dear Eli,
Yesterday you turned 5 months old. I am kind of scared to write this post because that means that the next time I write about your month-iversary it will be the big S-half a year. And I just can't believe that you have been with us for almost 6 months!!

You still aren't rolling over, but you are so close! You tolerate tummy time a lot better, especially when daddy reads to you or you watch your light-up music player. You seem to enjoy being naked more than being in a diaper or clothes, as you still fuss when we start to get you dressed. You are really starting to express not just your delight in life but also the things that frustrate you-when you lose a toy you're playing with, or when mom or dad are playing with you and have to get up for a minute.
You continue to vocalize all the time. Although we still see the occasional raspberry, we're more likely to hear you "rawring" like a dinosaur or lion (or sometimes it's more like a pirate "ARRRRRR!"). You've realized you can fake cough and do that all the time as well.

What is especially enjoyable about you right now: how you study other people, and then give them a big smile. How comfortable you are around other people. How you like to hold my hand while you nurse. How it's so easy to make you smile and laugh-and your laugh is such a delight to listen to! How content you are all the time-whether you're playing by yourself, riding in your carseat, waking up and talking to yourself in the much fun it is introducing you to new people, and watching them shower you with so much love. How much you love to splash in your baths-you use your arms now too! How your legs don't stop moving, ever! And, of course, how you helped me to celebrate in such a big way my very first Mother's Day!

We kept you very busy this month! During Memorial Day weekend, you went with us to a cabin at Black Hawk State Park in Iowa with our friends the Leos and the Olsons. Evan and Eric, your bestest buddies (whether you like it or not!) both learned your name, and although you aren't the most interactive playmate yet, they still had some fun with you. And of course your honorary aunts and uncles had a great time cuddling you and making you laugh!
You also attended your first two (of many!) Annual Conferences-first Iowa, then Nebraska. Of course you were a welcome distraction to all around us-everyone loved meeting you! You also helped do your part raising money for Imagine No Malaria as you donated a net for every month of your life, and challenged everyone there to donate a net for every year of their life. We know you will continue to do so much good with your life, and pray that we do our part to raise you to be aware of the needs of the world around you, and always willing to respond to those needs in a helping way.
Eli, you are so very special to us, and we just can't remember the last time anything or anyone brought us so much joy! It is an honor to be called your parents.
Mom and Dad

Friday, May 25, 2012

3-4 Months

Dear Eli,
You are four months old now! I missed posting your three month letter and am late with your four month letter because we have not slowed down lately! Your dad and I wondered if when you came into our lives it would slow us down much- but it appears not :) for your three-month birthday we were staying with Bibi and Pappy in Des Moines while your dad and I attended a conference (your first of many United Methodist conferences, I'm sure!). Your four-month birthday was on graduation day at Nebraska Wesleyan University so I hardly got to see you at all that day-but your dad took great care of you and even brought you to see me during one of my breaks.
At some point just after your two-month birthday, your dad and I looked at each other and said, "he's not a newborn anymore!". We're not sure when it happened exactly but somewhere in there you really started showing your personality, learning new tricks, and stopped being the cuddly, floppy baby who would sleep on us all the time! I am sure from here on out we will meet each transition in your stages with a similar feeling: mourning, in a way, how fast you are growing and the things that are no more, yet so excited to see you continue to grow and develop into the sweet boy you are becoming.
You still aren't rolling over yet but your doctor tells us that can be the sign of a very content baby! You continue to smile more and more and always have a story to tell-we can't wait until the day when we know exactly what you are saying :) You love to read books and you are able to sit up in your Bumbo chair. You don't like having your clothes put on or having your diaper changed anywhere but home.
Just after you turned three months we took you on your first big trip and plane ride to New Orleans for a family wedding. It was so much fun introducing you to the LeHew family-you will have so much fun with them as you get older! Of course the happy couple were the stars of the weekend, but you were a close second as people were anxious to meet their newest cousin and grand nephew! We also got to go and see our friends Jared and Alina and meet your new best friend Palmer! You did two new things on this trip. First, Bibi taught you how to blow raspberries-and I don't think you've stopped since! You wake up blowing raspberries, and do them while you play on your playmat. Your dad says that's how you communicate :) On April 21, you also gave us your first belly laugh. Bibi and I were playing with you in the hotel room and you just laughed, it was so sweet! Of course since dad wasn't there he didn't believe it happened-and you wouldn't give us another one for a week or so! But now we are able to make you laugh with tickles, silly faces and goofy games.
The other really neat thing about this time in your life is that during your fourth month, your daddy got to take paternity leave and stay home with you for a month. I loved it because dad got to see how much work it is to stay home and take care of you-he loved it because it was priceless time you two got to spend together. He really got to know your habits well during that time and is usually the one educating me on your schedule and needs!
Eli, you are such a sweet, happy baby and so many times your dad and I look at each other and ask, "how did we get so lucky??". We love you dear boy. My favorite moments lately are when I am feeding you and you stroke my back with your hand or play with my shirt. I also love the sweet smiles you give just before you fall asleep! I know the next few months will be so much fun as you become more mobile and we continue to see your personality come through! We love you little man!