Sunday, April 24, 2011

Happy Easter!

Happy Easter to you! These are the ears Aunt Maryann left along with a chirping chick. Grandma and Grandpa Ulrich sent too many treats for us all and some cute little Jesus books. Everything was a hit. Grandpa Papczun and Nancy were ready to post things as well and we convinced them to hold onto it to give in person when we are in Cleveland in May. Thanks to everyone!

Coloring our eggs, complete with aprons on.

This year seems more like the "firsts" for Elliot since he's old enough to somewhat understand what's going on. He was very excited this Easter and we tried to pump it up as well. We managed a 7am church service and then hosted brunch for 12 (+3 toddlers+1 dog) at 10am. Upon returning from church, his Easter basket "appeared" and he certainly knew it was something special. He doesn't eat candy yet (whew) so it was sidewalk chalk, little balls, and toys for the beach this summer (love the Target $1 bins!).

Brunch was scrumptious as everyone brought lovely goodies (and I got my "formal" hosting out of my system for a while!). Renee came with her husband, and completely spoiled Elliot with an overflowing Easter basket, full of all of his favorites-- cereals, animal crackers, Thomas the Train dvd, bath toys, you name it. I felt bad for her-- she was "off duty" and ended up entertaining Elliot both because we were scrambling to get the food on the table and Elliot just has to be near her if she's around. She didn't seem to flinch.

We then did an Easter egg hunt in the living room-- plastic eggs stuffed with Teddy Grahams and Cheerios (not the smartest-- the Cheerios went all over with each egg opening...). The kids had a ball and the non-kid-parties found a reprieve on the deck. The munchkins seemed to really like it, but it was good that Pat made the hidden eggs super obvious, as the snacking on the goodies became the focus instead of the hunting.

All the kids did relatively well-- Paul did the best, though. We have an issue with Elliot biting and he attempted to bite Diane's head today, much to our major dismay (what the heck do you do with that?!?! Besides regular reprimands and hanging our heads with embarrassment...). He also is still learning to share, which seems to be pretty hard (I am guessing normal for this age?). It was very difficult for him to let go of his scooter and try to enjoy seeing others enjoy it. This is definitely something to constantly work on.

We forget how over-stimulating an event like this is for the little ones. Everyone was ready for a nap once 12:30p rolled around.

The reality of my spring break being over will come pretty fast when I am up at 5:15am tomorrow instead of sleeping in until 8am with Elliot each morning... We had a superb time this week together and time absolutely flew. I had all these big plans for the Aquarium, play dates, and nothing happened it seemed but laundry, packing away baby clothes (sniff sniff) and dodging the rain by making forts in the dining room.

We spent late on Saturday at the lake... this is us watching helicopters go by. We were unsuccessful in getting the seagulls to eat Elliot's Shredded Wheat on this trip to the point.

I am sure every parent says this often, but I am amazed at how old he suddenly looks. Is kindergarten tomorrow?! Yikes.

Tuesday, April 19, 2011


Scooter Box: 3 Years and Older? Nah.

Renee, Pat, and Elliot on our bitter cold walk to brunch before they left.

Some pictures of Aunt Maryann and Renee at brunch.

Elliot and I have been building forts inside because of the rain. He loves it and will giggle out loud as he dives under the sheet. First thing this morning, he came running to me with the sheet in his arms, begging for it. Great fun. It's me, the teddy bear, Elliot, some sort of breakfast and a book= best time in the world.

The scooter we ordered Elliot arrived on Monday, but he was such a mess that day, we couldn't give it to him and risk giving him a reward for his meltdown-iness. So this morning, he was great, so we decided to go for it. I have to say, this is the first time I have felt what most parents feel on Christmas. I've thought we were spoiling him with this, and never understood the whole buy-your-kids-things. However, after seeing his pure joy upon seeing the scooter and immediately realizing it was for him, I now understand what Christmas will be all about from now on. Amazing the glow he got and how excited we were to see him enjoy it so much. I hope this isn't a bad thing.

He thoroughly wore himself out on it after we laid some ground rules (shoes are a must, all toys need to be picked up and out of the way, no food in your mouth, no other things in hand or around neck, specifically earbuds ...). He played through eating, and only later did he realize he was starving and inhaled a bunch of Cheerios just long enough that he could then get back to scootering.

He quickly became pretty competent at it, gaining some decent speed for inside (and for a 21 month old!). At one point, I caught him going down the hall and, after he pushed off, he'd softly drag his pushing foot, as if to guide himself. It's kind of crazy how intuitively he seems to have taken to it.

Definitely a hit. I'll get a video up here of him on it.

Sunday, April 17, 2011

Time for the Raincoat!

Grandma sent back a darling raincoat last time we visited. This week, we had a lot of rain, and it got some good use. Elliot will now ask to go out just so he can put on the little coat. And, like a true little kid, he has to splash through each puddle along the way.

Aunt Maryann and Renee, her mission friend, came to visit this weekend. Aunt Maryann, in her grandma role, spoiled Elliot with candy, toys, an Easter book... It's a quick trip but great to see them. They head back to Romania for more mission work in June, so we'll have to do our best to get into Ohio for a weekend before they go.

Elliot got lots and lots of fanfare for his little accomplishments from them, too, like trying to blow his nose (new development). They also witnessed another new development-- I ran his bath, and typically, he'll lean over the edge and play in the water until I get him undressed. I know he can climb in, but he never has tried without me there. Well, last night, he went into the bathroom, and we just let him go in. Maryann says, "I'll go after him..." only to see him doing a swan dive into the tub, fully clothed! Pat said by the time he got in there, he was sitting up, like it was normal, but the tears quickly came when we kinda freaked. Another one of those moments of mentally noting to never let him in there by himself from now on. It's crazy these moments of, "But he's never done that before..."

We broke down and ordered him a scooter yesterday (three-wheel). Twice now at the park he has thoroughly enjoyed other kids' scooters. The latest was about a week ago. The boy and his mother were super generous, saying, "Well, he knows if he brings his things to the park that he has to share them." Um, Elliot had his scooter the whole time we were there. Then, he cried when he had to give it back. It was embarrassing. But, it was very impressive how quickly he became competent at it. He balances well, takes his time, and is able to push off with one foot repeatedly and go for about 20 feet before he has to step off. He just loved it. He really has a knack for it. We were going to wait until his birthday, but that's a few months from now when he could be using it all summer. It will be great in our backyard, too, on the sidewalk and there's a large concrete area. It seemed, though, that daddy wanted to get it for him maybe more than Elliot would want it. :)

This kid might be on a bike by next summer. Eep.

Tuesday, April 5, 2011

Lots of Time at the Park Already.

Spring is just now here and we've already spent hours upon hours at the park and playground. Summer should be a blast!

Our Little Monkey

So, he may not be very verbal, but climbing is definitely a strength... Each trip to the park entails a sequence like this 5 or 6 times in a row before he takes a break. The other day, a 17-mo-old and him just did rounds and rounds, chasing each other up the stairs, then flipping around to slide down the slide on their bellies. He certainly comes home worn out-- no wonder he stays a stringbean (although lately he's been getting a little belly on him!). Definitely takes after his father, wouldn't you say?

Downstairs Neighbors are Moving...

Our downstairs neighbors are moving... could this be why?

Saturday, April 2, 2011

Latest Happenings.

Playing hide and seek in the bathroom.

Elliot is so extremely vain. He LOVES to watch videos of himself or to see his own picture. One day, he became mesmerized by the blog videos. I got tired of sitting there, pushing play every 30 seconds, so I showed him how and he just kept pushing play about 10 times in a row, at least.

Normal day at the office.
How we get him bundled when he turns stubborn and does not want to put on his coat.

Shaving with dad again. Until he started licking it off.

My blogs have gotten farther and farther apart because of being so busy and we just aren't taking as many photos of Elliot as we used to.

Few little things to update:

Elliot had started putting his fingers in his ears after we visited Claire and Martin. Apparently, Diane had been doing this, but we never saw it. We did, however, talk about it, and the next day, Elliot pulled this trick, then he did it a few more times as well. So, did he hear us talking about it and decided to give it a shot or is this some standard developmental thingy for toddlers?!

We are really itching for spring here. It seems we push taking him to the park in a sweatshirt, no mittens, even if it is a bit chilly, just because it's not as cold as it was and we're certainly over the whole "Let's bundle in three layers to go outside" phase. Today, we opened the back door, wiped off the furniture, and enjoyed the deck a little.

Trying crepes on the deck. Two bites. Done.

This week has been a touch rough and we really think it's teeth. Elliot's been short tempered and a bit bratty. He'll meltdown over the smallest thing (spilled crumbs) or throw himself down and try to bite the floor. We gave him a broken lid to a sippy cup, and he walks around, just gnawing on the rubber with the side of his mouth, as if it's gum or something. It's also been one of those weeks where I have found myself saying more than once, "Man, he just grew, doesn't he seem taller all the sudden?"

We're trying to break the thumb habit with verbal prompting which has left us saying, "No thumb!" about every other sentence. He sometimes will stop and point to his teeth, since I have explained that his teeth will become crooked. What can you do, though, during sleeptime? We'll have to investigate some other interventions. It's extra hard when he's tired and gets ahold of his blanket.

Elliot has more words, like car, go, and he's attempting octagon, which ends up sounding like, "auktung." He's much more willing to try the sounds right away and mimic now.

He's playing with his toys less and less. I don't know if this is boredom (do we need to put them away and bring them out again later, as "new?") or what. He tends now to grab onto something around the house and just putz around with it-- my little iPod shuffle is popular, so are our belts, other cords, a basket of random things like bandaids, candy, etc. If he sees the white cords for the earphones when Pat comes back from a run or something, he insists on listening.

Pat was ready to get him a scooter or a push bike, after he enjoyed a little 3-year-old girl's at the park the other day. We may be at this stage this summer, which is so fun to think about. Crazy to think that last summer, he didn't walk until 14 mo (Sept), so we were all over the deck, outside, etc, with just crawling. This summer will be much different.