Child Labor...I mean fun!

I know, I know, two posts and no pictures of Eli...what kind of horrible mommy am I?! Ha ha! Recently Eli has become quite interested in our vacuum cleaner. This added to his obsession with pushing everything around poses quite a challenge; it is twice his size! We also have a stick vac and have found that this is a nice compromise. Eli loves to push it around and if he's going to do that, why not turn it on?! He likes the noise and at least he's picking up some dirt while he's having fun...perfect!

Eli's other new obsession is bringing us a books and sitting down to have then read to him. He does this over and over again, pulling out all his books, but usually comes back to this one. His favorite page is in the picture. He turns each page until he comes to the "whoo, whoo" page (a.k.a. dog).

And last but not least, after our trip to the grocery store, Eli decided to help me unpack the groceries! He was being especially helpful as you can see! (What? Store bags after that last post?!! Don't worry, I was reusing some old ones we already had. I also used my flip & tumble bag as well...still love it!)

"Actually...I Don't Need a Bag"

This is the saying I have been practicing all week! Its not easy to remember to do and inevitably I remember after they have already bagged my items! I'm pretty sure I'll never grace the cover of a Green Mommy mag for my efforts to save the planet, but I have been feeling lately like I should be doing my part. I'm not sure if its because I spend more time at home, running errands, changing diapers and therefore produce more visible waste than before, but I have really been trying to figure out what I can do to make a difference.

The one thing that jumped out to me immediately is using reusable shopping bags. It may seem more like a hassle than its worth (I forgot my bags! My bags are in the car!), but with convenient bags popping up everywhere, why not? Enter the Flip and Tumble bags.

My good friend Christine over at From Dates to Diapers had shown me one of these great bags a while back and just recently shared one with me (Thanks a bunch Christine). I had been eyeing them online and was excited to get to try one out. They are light weight, squish up into this great little pouch (just leave in your purse!) and are durable and hold what a normal plastic grocery bag would...what's not to love? And they double as a great toy to keep Eli busy while in his car seat or the shopping cart (folded into the ball, not undone as a choking hazard)!

A few other fun things I've discovered in my challenge to help out Mother Earth is that Winco will credit you a few cents per bag you bring in and Trader Joe's will enter you into a monthly drawing just for using your own bags (prize is one of their own reusable bags with $25 worth of groceries in it).

Don't worry I won't be lecturing you all on becoming more eco friendly or shaking my fingers at those using plastic bags but here's something to think about: What's one small thing I can change or do that will help leave the earth/environment in better shape for our kids? (aside from being the best, loving mommies on the planet)

Caution: Mushy-ness Ahead!

Every Tuesday morning, since last September, Eli and I get up, dressed, eat and out of the house by 9am to attend a Mom's group at our old church. Today was our last meeting until next fall and as I picked Eli up from the nursery I was reminded of the "early days" when he would cry as I left him and they would have to page me to come get him in the middle of our meetings. Today he was happily playing and was more interested that they had found his blankie than that I was there to pick him up!(15 min. late, I might add)

And then it hit me. I am falling in love with motherhood. I was not a "love at first sight" mom. Don't get me wrong, of course I loved Eli instantly and thought he was the cutest thing around, but motherhood was a different story for me. It took me much longer to get into the groove of being a mother than I expected! I thought because I had been around babies and had spent endless amount of time babysitting that it would be a perfect fit from day one. Instead it was a process of learning about myself, learning about my child and how we all fit together and function as a family.

It may have taken me a while, but I'm glad I've finally arrived here and can enjoy my role as Mommy and it excites me for what lays ahead. Whether you're a "love at first sight" or "fall in love after years of having it right in front of your nose" mommy, grab your kids/babies and hug them tight cause you're the only mommy they've got and they love you!

Has Anyone Seen My Baby?

I have been dragging my feet for weeks, even months, to get Eli's hair cut. We gave him a "do-it-yourself" version a few months ago. Let's just say I was less than impressed. Mostly because it was so sad to cut off all his crazy hair! So I decided to surprise Grant and took him to get his hair cut at Tangles (a bit sketchy with a 'gangsta' barber!) yesterday. He was completely still and just chewed on his blankie. I think he might have been in shock and a bit scared of the man cutting his hair! :) Although its a bit short in the back, he now can be cool for the summer, and it looks much cleaner. The only problem is, he now looks like a little boy and no longer my baby!

Gotta JAMBA!

This morning has been a great one! Breezy weather, happy kid, who could ask for more?! I needed to run a few errands which included stopping at Jamba Juice for a gift card. Eli had been such a cooperative little monkey and it was almost lunch time so I thought I'd treat him to a smoothie. Now mommy is a little paranoid about "boosts" and other smoothie stuff in a little body, so we stuck to the all fruit (Pomegranite Paradise is my favorite) smoothie and Eli was thrilled! The Jamba Juice lady even got to see his little happy dance and excited "ooooooooohhh"! Eli also has a facination for straws at the moment so between the smoothie and the straw he couldn't have been happier.

An Invaluable Moment

There have been a handful of times in my life when God has allowed me to see things with a bit more clarity; taking away a layer of earthly muck you might say. It would be easy to say its just a "realization" or a "greater appreciation" but I know that my God has given me these moments to allow me a little glimpse of how He sees things.
Driving home Thursday afternoon from playgroup was one of those times. As I merged onto the freeway, sticky from the afternoon heat, the air conditioning blasting and Eli nodding off in the back seat it hit me...this is my job! As this amazing peace and joy washed over the whole car I had this incredible feeling of gratefulness that God allows me to spend my days with Eli, in all his craziness, watching him grow, discover, play, laugh, love...the list never ends. At that moment I was reminded that there is nothing more valuable on this earth than God's blessings and its all too easy to get caught in life's dizzying pace and not even recognize them. How sad that our God created us, wants only the best for us, and then gets pushed aside day after day by none other than us.
If I could have stopped time and just sat there enjoying my sleepy little monkey, hair sweaty, face dirty and blankie hanging out of his mouth as his head bobbed, I would have gladly done so for hours. I have the best job in the world and I am so humble that God assigned me the task of taking care of one of his most precious creations!

Magical Afternoon

Eli and I discovered Fairytale town with our playgroup today(Thursday)! With all the fun slides, climbing toys, live animals and stories to enjoy, Eli managed to find every mud puddle...What a boy! Eli had a great time playing with all his friends while mommy got to chat with hers and try to keep cool. What a fun way to spend an afternoon. What would I do without the sanity of playgroups?!
Cheese anyone? Mommy & Eli looking for the mice...

Mommy & Eli on a slide (whose having more fun?)

Sharing a picnic with friends

Hard At Play!

Bitter Beer Face

Today Nana came for lunch. She likes lime in her diet coke and Eli insisted on trying it (the lime that is)! I've seen him make a lot of silly faces, but I don't think I've ever seen his face scrunch up so tight!
Hmmm...I think I'll try that!

And again...

And again...

Just one more time...

I don't feel so good!

Naw, Naw, Naw....ooooooooohhhhh!

Naw (pronounced like jaw with an 'n') is Eli's new way of communicating. We are not sure what it means other than he wants/needs something specific and he keeps saying it louder and louder until you figure it out. Once you figure it out, it is usually followed by an excited oooooooohhhh, and sometimes a little dance.
On our outing to the Vacaville Outlets yesterday Eli spotted a kiddie ride outside one of the shops. He utilized his new word while Daddy searched his pocket for quarters. Once on the ride however, he decided it was a little more than he'd bargained for and quickly wanted off!
I don't think I like this

I REALLY don't like this!

Don't be fooled, this is not on the way home, but on the way to the outlets!

Men At Work

Part of our crazy weekend included my parents' long awaited delivery of several pieces of furniture, including an armoire, for their new house. My dad seized the opportunity of having Grant and my brother-in-law Tim around and put them to work on all the technical stuff. Thankfully they got everything hooked up and it all works! Eli didn't want to miss out on the action and decided to give his two cents.

Mama Mia!

Happy Belated Mother's Day! I realize I'm a bit late, but that's just how it seems to be these days! We had a great day hanging out with family and celebrating "Mothering Sunday" (as its called in England). I forgot to take a picture last year (my first mother's day and I forgot...bad scrapbooker!) so I was determined to do it this year. Well of course I remembered to do it just a few minutes before bath time when Eli is melting down. Here are the results:

Can Somebody Let Me Outta Here?

Another reason we love Red Robin...the enclosed patio that hardly gets used! Since Eli has come along, we've found a love for Red Robin. Bright lights, insane amounts of pictures on the walls, a huge robin and now...the patio. (Not to mention the bottomless fries, but that's more for us than Eli!) It is one place we know Eli will be well entertained while we eat.
This Sunday we decided that we'd walk up to Red Robin and have drinks and bottomless fries on the patio. What a great way to relax, enjoy the beautiful spring weather and chat while Eli ran around and tried to eat crayons, but at least we didn't have to worry about him escaping or bothering anyone!
If you are ever craving fries or just want to hang out, call us, we're always up for paying a visit to the Robin!

Fun in the (overcast) Sun

How fun! Eli, Pops and I joined some great friends at the lake on Friday afternoon. There were lots of photo ops as the kids passed the time digging in, and eating, the sand, splashing in the water and eating each others' snacks! Eli loved the water and was a large participator in the sand eating category while Pops and I enjoyed the warm day and peaceful atmosphere (minus the "kid noise" of course). It has been great having Grant's Dad, Jack here to visit us and more importantly to spend time with Eli. They are having loads of giggles and cuddles together which is so special for us to see! (we have also found out that Jack is a great group photo taker.)

Hooray for Pops!

Eli's Pops arrived on Wednesday evening from England! It was very exciting to pick him up at the train station since we haven't seen him since Christmas and Eli greeted him with a big smile. He has only been here for two days but we've had tons of fun already and can't wait to have more. We have lots of excursions planned like going to the zoo. Eli giggles at Pops' funny faces and seems surprised to see him each morning with a look of..."you're still here?". We are looking forward to spending the next few weeks with him.

May Day

Happy May Day! While I realize that it is already 10pm on May 1st, I still wanted to share a family tradition that I had with my mom. (to be honest, I just realized it was May 1st when I saw a date stamp on another blog, or I would have posted this earlier...yeah for Mommy Brain!)

When I was growing up, every May 1st, my mom and I would make paper cones and then pick flowers from our yard to put in the cones and secretly hang them on neighbors' door nobs. I don't remember if we included a message or not, but I remember how exciting it was to leave something so fun and pretty for someone else to find!

Thinking about May Day, it reminded me that I need to be intentional with Eli as he grows up, keeping family traditions and creating new ones. Some of the best memories I have from my childhood, are just simple, yet special, activites that we did together as family!