Tuesday, December 30, 2008

Christmas from PA

Eli received a special delivery from his aunt, uncles, and cousins in Pennsylvania. He was definitely into opening his presents and even resorted to using his teeth at times to rip the paper. He is a determined little pea!

He loves listening to the alphabet song and we see lots of crazy dancing in front of the fridge now!
Opening his gift from Uncle Kirk and Uncle Noah.
Ooooooh...TRUCKS! This boy LOVES trucks. He gets so excited and says "trucks" in this really hilarious growling voice. If he wasn't so stinkin' sweet, the voice would be a bit creepy!
A new Steelers jersey! What more could a boy want...trucks and football. Or, as Eli says, "buttball."
The trucks from his uncles were a huge hit. He would not put them down tonight so I could get him dressed for bed. He kept running away from me laughing and growling "trucks!" In fact, he even sat on the potty and pooped while holding onto his trucks! We had to do truck hi-5's for pooping on the potty!

Seriously, what is it with boys and trucks? It is just fascinating to me! We don't feel like we have pushed trucks and cars and he has been exposed to a wide variety of toys. But, he loves, loves, loves his trucks.
I am also constantly amazed at how much he understands and remembers! The other day he was being Mr. Crankypants and I asked him if he wanted to go to timeout. Now, we were doing timeout for a very short period of time a few months ago when he went through a hitting phase, but he has not been in timeout for a least a couple of months. After I asked him, he nodded his head yes, ran to the timeout chair, climbed in, and then started crying. It was actually quite funny! After he put himself in timeout, he was in a great mood for the rest of the evening. He continues to talk more and more and is starting to put simple sentences together. It is so fun to watch him learning new things, but I don't want him to grow up! It seemed like time stood still while we were waiting for him to come home, but now I wish it would slow down just a little! It's hard to believe sometimes that he has been home for 8 months, yet it also feels like he has always been here. Amazing!

Friday, December 26, 2008

Christmas at Home

We had a wonderful Christmas Day! It was so much fun to wake up at home with little pea, watch him discover all of the gifts around the tree, and to realize they were for him. My parents came over to enjoy the morning and have Christmas breakfast with us. It took Eli about 3 hours to open all of his gifts. He would open one or two, play for awhile, open a couple more, play for awhile, and so on. Santa was very good to Eli this year! What a joy.

The tree after Santa left our house. The ride on toy on the left was a gift from Jason's parents, oma and pop pop, that arrived just in time for Christmas Day.
His stocking with Tyrone peeking out.
Reading one of his new books. Eli got LOTS of new books!
He discovered Tyrone!!
Eli's new baby! Santa found this on a really great site: Dolls Like Me. This baby is so cute and cuddly! He has on little pajamas and carries a bear with matching PJ's. I think this is Eli's new snugglebunny. Playing with his Little People bus. He loves buses and was very excited about this gift!

We went to my parents' house in the afternoon to celebrate with my family. My mom always makes Christmas very special with every little detail. We stuffed ourselves, we laughed, talked, and made a huge mess of my parents' house! It wouldn't be Christmas any other way! ;) I even made Guatemalan Christmas Punch (Poche). Delicious!

Eli's cousins gave him the Little People fire truck and this was a HUGE hit!Mamaw and papaw gave Eli this Backyardigan's guitar.

Christmas family pic at the end of the day. Eli was wired by this point! It was a very busy and exciting day and I think he was asleep the minute his head hit the mattress.

Wednesday, December 24, 2008

One Year Ago...

We were busy packing our bags to spend Christmas in Guatemala while also reeling from the news of our 2nd kickout from PGN. As hard as that was right before the holidays, we were so excited to be seeing our little pea again and to spend his 1st Christmas together as a family. We had such an amazing trip. We had the opportunity to see more of Guatemala, visit the clinic where Eli was born, and to see Eli crawl for the first time! You can see the video here: CRAWLING.

As I am finishing up some last minute baking, wrapping, and eagerly waiting to see what Santa brings;)...I can't help but reflect on last Christmas while taking a long, deep breath knowing how incredibly blessed and lucky we are to be celebrating Christmas as a family at home this year. For the past few weeks, Jason and I have been really struggling with gift ideas for each other. "Stuff" just doesn't seem that important. We decided it seems really silly to buy each other stuff we don't need just for the sake of buying something. That is not what Christmas is about. We were discussing last night how our adoption process taught us many, many things (and continues to do so)...but, most importantly, that we already have everything we need and want. Of course, Santa will still be stopping at our house, but the greatest gift is being together as a family. That is something we will never take for granted.

Have a wonderful holiday!

Tuesday, December 16, 2008


The tree is lit and decorated!!! Our tree decorating was delayed by about a week due to all of our sickies, well...mostly my sickies! :( I think we are finally getting healthy after waging war on the germs. We have officially become germophobes armed with lysol, hand sanitizer, and lots of hand soap. Now we are just hoping that Eli's 2 year molars cut through SOON. He has two coming in right now and nights have been a little rough.

But, the tree is decorated, our Christmas spirit has been revived, and I love it! I am slightly ashamed to admit that this is the first Christmas tree we have had in a couple of years. Really, we are not scrooges! But, honestly, we struggled with finding our Christmas spirit last year. And, most importantly, we spent Christmas in Guatemala and didn't want to leave a live tree in our house for a week without care. So, last year, we decided to stick with our little 2 foot table tree as our token of Christmas cheer. This year is a whole other story! It is so wonderful to have a nice, big tree in the house again and even more wonderful to be spending our 2nd Christmas with Eli, this time at HOME. Happy. Happy. Happy.
Of course, I had to get in a little photo shoot to celebrate! Here is my serious boy.Silly boy.
And melt-your-heart sweet boy. This smile can get him about anything. ;)

Monday, December 8, 2008

Getting into the Spirit

Let the season begin! Our weekend started with a visit to santa on Friday evening at the downtown winter wonderland. Eli was very intrigued by all the decorations and the people. And, he had no problems with Santa! Sat right on his lap without hesitation. Granted, he wouldn't look at Santa, but he certainly wasn't afraid. This kid is seriously so laid back and such a social butterfly.

Here is little pea with his cousin, D. They have such a sweet connection. The first time Eli met D, his whole face just lit up! And, D is equally enamored with Eli and so super sweet with him. I just love watching the two of them together.

Sitting on Santa's lap!

On Saturday, we ventured out to get our Christmas tree. It was bitter cold and snowing, but what perfect conditions for Christmas tree hunting! Eli LOVED the snow! He was not phased at all by the cold and had so much fun stomping around in his snow boots. He also quickly discovered that snow is edible.

Getting ready to go! Boy, going out into the cold, snowy weather is quite a production these days!

Daddy and pea looking for the perfect tree.


We found it!

Checking out the donkey.
Santa's reindeer.
Sunday was supposed to be our tree decorating party, but we have once again been plagued by the sickies. We just can't seem to get rid of it. Ever since I went back to work and Eli started at the babysitters, we have all been sick with one thing or another. In the last 2 weeks, we have had 3 doctor's visits, one urgent care visit, and loads of antibiotics/steriods. Eli is MUCH better than last week, but this week I got pink eye in both eyes and, to add insult to injury, the flu. Sigh...seriously, this is getting really old. Where can we get some lysol bombs???

Friday, December 5, 2008

Passing on traditions

As some of you may remember from a post last year, I am CRAZY about Chex Mix! I have been since I was a kid. Growing up, we made Chex Mix every year around Christmas time and it is just one of those crazy, seemingly meaningless traditions that is so important to me! It is really less about the actual food, than it is the memories and feelings it evokes. Every year, we would dedicate an entire day to making Christmas goodies. My mom, sister, and I (sometimes my brother, too) would spend the entire day cooking, baking, and decorating cookies. The kitchen would be a disaster with flour, frosting, wax paper, and tiny cookie decorations everywhere! We had so much fun and those times together helped define the meaning of the holidays for our family. And, let me tell ya, my sister decorates a mean cookie!

At some point over the years, I became the official Chex Mix chef and thus began a lifelong, glutinous love affair that only comes around once a year! It is pretty much the staple of my diet from Thanksgiving through New Years. No joke! In fact, I am eating it right now. ;) I especially love it for breakfast! Now, I am talking about the homemade stuff, not that bagged crap that claims to be the original Chex Mix. And, I am a hardcore ORIGINAL Chex Mix recipe follower. None of this bagel chip, mixed nuts, and garlic & onion powder nonsense. I suppose you could call me a Chex Mix puritan or, well, maybe a Chex Mix snob. Call me what you will, butI stand strong and proud by the Original recipe. ;)

What is the original recipe you ask? Well, let me indulge you. Okay, I admit, the recipe may not be exactly like the original, but it is pretty darn close. And, I always double the recipe.

6 cups Rice Chex Mix
6 cups Corn Chex Mix
6 cups Wheat Chex Mix (NOT the multigrain. I made this mistake ONCE!)
1 or 2 cups pretzels
1/2 to 1 cup peanuts (I like dry roasted)
5 tbsp butter (the REAL stuff)
4 tbsp Lea & Perrins Worcestershire (the best brand)
3 tsp Lawry's Seasoned Salt (best brand)

Mix dry ingredients together in large bowl. Melt butter and combine with worcestershire and seasoned salt. Pour over cereal mixture and stir to coat evenly. You can bake it in the oven or the microwave. I use the microwave because that is what I have always done. :) Cook for 6 minutes in the microwave, stopping to stir mixture every 2 minutes. Lay out on paper towels to dry and then ENJOY!!!

So, since it is my turn to be mom at Christmas time this year, I have the huge responsibility of passing on this sacred tradition to my family! And, well, I am so proud to say little pea may be just as crazy about Chex Mix as his mama. Sigh...so, so proud. ;)

Helping mama pour the cereal.

Dumping it in the bowl.
Already can't get enough. He would dump in a cup of cereal and say/sign "more, more, more." Stir it up!

Monday, December 1, 2008

First Thanksgiving

We had a great first Thanksgiving with our little pea. We spent the first part of the day at home watching the Macy's parade, cooking, and just relaxing. We then went to my parents house for the big turkey dinner. Eli thoroughly enjoyed his first Thanksgiving feast eating all of his turkey, sweet potatoes, mashed potatoes, stuffing, cranberry dressing, corn, etc. I can't help reflecting on this time last year... I have had many of those "pinch me" moments lately thinking of one year ago, resulting in spontaneous tears in the most unlikely places, like the checkout line! We have so much to be thankful for this holiday season, and always.

And, as is tradition in our little family, someone ended up sick before the weekend was over. For the past several years, Jason and I have alternated getting the yucks on Thanksgiving weekend. This year, it was Eli's turn to join in on the "fun." He is now on some antibiotics so hopefully he will be back to himself in a few days.

Here are some pics of our Thanksgiving Day fun.

Beep, beep. Comin' through.

Attack of the boys! Poor Jason...;)
Tryptophan setting in.

Family shot by the fireplace.