Tuesday, November 27, 2012

Letter to My Baby

My sweet baby E,

I wanted to write you a note today to tell you just how wonderful you are. Every day, you do new things and I really wanted to write them down for you to read one day when you are grown and for me to read many times as the years pass to remind myself of this time.

You are two-and-a-half years old now and you are a ball of energy. It seems that you do something new and amazing every day. You are so smart and so incredibly sweet. Your laughter is infectious and you love to play tickle monster with me. I have been pleased at how your signing and your speaking has developed so far. You are a little sponge and you love to learn. You amazed your Daddy and me recently by showing us that you recognize written words and their meaning. I wouldn't call it reading yet, but when you see words like CAT, DOG, or HAT, you know exactly what they mean. You picked that up all on your own.

You have an obsession with the alphabet and have been saying and signing all of your letters for quite a while now. Your favorite letter always has been and continues to be O. We are not sure why other than it was one of the first letters you learned. You will go through and dig out all of the Os and set them aside from other letters in your blocks and you love to draw Os. Speaking of drawing, you are quite talented for your age when it comes to art. You are very particular about your drawing and painting. You really enjoy drawing smiley faces and letters most. You also enjoy making me draw things for you as you call out what you want to see next.

You are a creature of habit and routine. You get that from your Daddy! You are VERY particular about all that you do. You line up your matchbox cars just so and you sort them by size, color, and kind. Woe to anyone who moves one without your permission! You have had the same bedtime routine since you were six months old. You know how it goes and insist that it be followed exactly. If we get something out of order, you go so far as to correct us and start from the beginning again with a quick pretend of anything that we have already done. You will even climb your step stool and pretend to brush your teeth again to keep the order correct. This is hilarious and, honestly, mildly disturbing :-) Your current routine is brush teeth, bath, towel cuddles, pajamas, read your Bible, say our prayers, turn on your sea horse glow toy, and kisses good night. You recently decided that YOU will "read" the Bible to your Daddy and me rather than the other way around. You always read us the creation story because it has all the animals in the pictures.

You are so very sweet. I know you will grow up all too quickly, but for now, I truly love this time in your life. You are so full of wonder. You love to snuggle and give the best hugs and kisses. Just last night, you gave me hugs and kisses and signed to me, "Mommy, I love you" without being prompted or trying to bribe me for anything. You tell us you love us all the time, but usually after we have said it first. It melted my heart and if you HAD been trying to bribe me, it surely would have worked! I hope you always keep your sweet and loving disposition. Everyone always comments on how you are the happiest and most loving little boy they have ever seen. I don't think there could be a nicer compliment for a mom than that. I am SO proud of you, my sweet baby boy. You bring smiles to everyone you meet. You are also quite a little comedian and keep us laughing at your antics on a regular basis. You never fail to make me howl with laughter on a daily basis.

You are growing up so fast! We changed your crib to a toddler bed on Thanksgiving night. We did it not because you climbed out, which you very surprisingly never did,  but because you were getting to big and heavy for me to lift in and out of the crib. You have done great in your "big boy" bed. You have yet to fall out and you you stay in your bed waiting patiently in the morning for Daddy to come and get you. As much as you wiggle and move, I am very shocked we haven't found you sleeping on your floor every morning!

Here are a few of your latest likes and dislikes:

Like: chicken nuggets, waffles, pizza, greek yogurt, marshmallows, chocolate milk, and french fries
Dislike: pretty much anything remotely healthy (other than the yogurt)

Like: iPad, drawing and coloring, matchbox cars, blocks, books, puzzles, and play-doh
Dislike: loud and obnoxious toys...oh wait, that's what Mommy and Daddy dislike ;-)

Like: looking for worms, your dog Abby, sliding, swinging, and running through the leaves
Dislike: spiders and mud on your hands

Like: Mickey Mouse Clubhouse, Signing Time, Hercules, and Tom & Jerry
Dislike: anything Mommy and Daddy are trying to watch

Like: wearing capes, hats, hoodies, costumes
Dislike: wearing socks

There are times when I am so in awe of you and the love that I have for you that I wonder how I can even manage it. There will be days that you don't like me very much when you are in trouble or when I am having to tell you, "NO." There will be days when I might not like YOU very much either (probably around the age of 16) ;-) Those are the days I hope you can look back on this blog and these notes that I write to you and know how very much you are loved. You, my precious little boy, are loved more than you will ever know...until they day comes that you have a precious little one of your own.

Friday, October 26, 2012

As usual, E is a ball of energy. The nice fall weather makes playing outside so nice even though the days are getting shorter. Here are a few snapshots of some of E's favorite activities over the past few weeks:

running through the leaves

 we have just a few leaves

examining a bugs with Daddy

drawing on the iPad with Papa Ray

copying mommy after bath time

Monday, October 15, 2012

Artist in the Making

Let me show you reason number 3,459 why I think my kid is exceptional...

This is my two-year-old. That is his dry erase doodle board. Those are smiley faces. At first, my husband asked me if maybe I was just seeing things in his doodles that were just coincidences. After I watched E carefully dot the eyes of his third smiley face, I was certain it was deliberate. I'm not sure that it is common for a two-year-old to draw smileys, but I was impressed! Maybe we have a little artist in the making on our hands?

Monday, October 8, 2012

Kids Say...

I often wonder what other kids think about E's "ears" when they play with him. Most children are curious and ask innocent questions about E's devices or his signing. So far, they all seem to think E's differences are neat. Today, E went to stay at a friend's house who keeps him when our regular nanny is on vacation. This friend keeps two little girls as well. She told us that when one of the little girls heard that E was coming to play today, she said, "I wonder if he'll let me use his hearing things too." Later, the little girl said, "E gets to wear earrings." :-) It made me laugh to hear how she viewed E's hearing devices. To her, E's difference made him special and he got the privilege of "getting to wear earrings."

E is just as entertaining as ever. Tonight, E crawled up in my lap for a cuddle and began to fake yawn complete with "ahhhhhhhhhhh" and patting his hand over his mouth. He insisted that I join him in fake yawning. I have no clue how he comes up with this stuff!

Tuesday, October 2, 2012

Fall Y'all

So, I figured it has been a little while since I've posted anything new. Here's some of the latest news from the world of E:

 E is really curious about pumpkins. He likes to hold them and tap on them as if he is testing for ripeness. I love this pic of my little pumpkin investigating pumpkins :-)

E knows how to roll his tongue and has discovered the front-facing camera on my iPhone. He thinks it is super fun to make silly faces with mommy for the camera.

Every night at 7pm, my big boy magically transforms back into my snuggle baby. He is not allowed to have his paci until 7pm and trust me, he knows when that clock says 7:00! I love my cuddle time with my baby and hold tightly to every second as I know that the day will come all too soon when he will not sit in my lap.

E continues to develop his own personality and style. He decided the other night that he will wear sunglasses at night to watch his movie because he is just THAT cool :-)

Other news from E's world:
• only pull up diapers are acceptable now and sitting on the potty is fun, but nothing happens there yet
• E signs, says and recognizes all of the alphabet (upper and lower case) and enjoys making alphabet letters out of play-doh in preschool
• E properly identifies, signs and says all of the basic colors
• chocolate milk is the latest addiction
• Finding Nemo is gaining ground agains Hercules and he calls it the "happy movie"
• E is really tuning in on emotions and likes to tell you when characters on TV are feeling happy, sad, tired, or mad
• matching games are a current favorite and E is really skilled with these memory games
• E has discovered the wonder of "Angry Birds" and has been clearing levels and getting high scores all by himself

Monday, September 17, 2012

Hercules! Hercules!

E has a new obsession with the Disney movie, "Hercules." We have yet to figure out what it is about a movie that makes it a favorite or a fail. He used to love "Monsters Inc." and so we thought that maybe he liked the monsters. We tried to find another movie with more "monster-y" characters and we came up with "Lilo & Stitch." Nope. He wasn't a fan. Unlike almost every other little boy out there, he doesn't care much for "Cars." When "Hercules" was on TV the other day, my husband noticed that E was riveted. We immediately went and purchases the DVD. That thing might as well be on repeat in our house. E requests to watch it at least three times a day. He strikes a muscle man pose, hands me the DVD remote and says/signs "Want 'Eese please."

We cannot figure out the key element that attracts him to certain movies. He loves "Hercules," "The Princess and the Frog," and "Monsters Inc." He takes a passing interest in "Dumbo" and "Finding Nemo." He cares nothing about "Cars" or "Lady and the Tramp." All others are hit or miss. He also likes "Cinderella" because he thinks it is funny when Lucifer the cat gets his nose caught in the door or gets outsmarted by the mice. He really loves the music portions and insists that everyone in the room get up for a dance break when they play. He has to cheer for the hero when they defeat the foe and wants everyone to join in by raising their arms in the air and yelling, "YAY!" Lately, he has been copying the expressions and movements of the characters as he watches. It is hilarious to see him act out a scene as he is watching the movie! He is so observant and picks up on the smallest nuances. It is time for his Dad and me to really watch what we say and do around our little sponge :-)

Friday, September 7, 2012

Beach Baby

We took E to the beach for a long weekend last week. This is the first time he has been to the beach since he was three months old, so it is basically his first real beach experience. This child may possible love the ocean even more than his dad and me! He woke up every morning around 6:45am signing and saying, "Ocean, ready go." We took a cabana, a quilt, chairs, etc. and we NEVER USED THEM because E stayed in the waves from the moment we hit the beach until time to go inside.

 First Stop: Ripley's Aquarium

Shark and Ray tunnel

First Look at the Ocean

First Wave

Family Time

 Happiness is Sand Between Your Toes

Jumping Waves

Running From the Sea Foam

Sandcastle Time

Pool Time

 Ready for My Closeup

Family Pic

Monday, August 13, 2012


E likes to tie his blanket around his neck like a cape, but it doesn't stay put very well. While at WalMart yesterday, I spotted a generic superhero cape and mask set for $5. I put it in the cart and E played with it while I shopped. He wouldn't let go of it to ring it up, so the cashier had to lean across into the cart to scan it. Once we were in the car, I opened the pack and he wanted his mask on immediately. He wore the mask all the way home and then wore the entire outfit until bed time. This little set was by far the best $5 I have ever spent. I laughed for hours watching my little superhero play!

He decided that clothes hindered his flying...

Must keep running to keep cape billowing...

Captain Underpants!!

Even superheroes get tired and want their mommy. You still must maintain your secret identity though! Do not remove the cape and mask!

I can't tell you how happy these photos make me :-) I cannot look at them without laughing. I look forward to many more nights of superhero fun!

Friday, August 3, 2012

Having Options

Wednesday night we had a CRAZY thunderstorm. It is very rare that storms wake me, but this one was intense. I have never seen lightening that looked like a strobe light before, but this lightening was almost constant with very little time lapse between each flash. The thunder that accompanied was not much different. I lay in bed listening to the craziness and before I really thought about it, I turned to my husband and said, "Thank goodness E is deaf." I was grateful that E does not wear his hearing devices when he sleeps and was completely undisturbed by the noise of the storm. This got me thinking about how awesome it is that E has the option to hear when he wants or to embrace the quiet when it suits him.

When E gets up in the morning, he likes to have a little down time before he is ready to "put on his ears." E wakes up like his Daddy...very slowly. It typically takes about 30 minutes before he is ready to face the day. During this time, he wants a lap to cuddle, a sippy cup of milk, and quiet. There are other times that E chooses the quiet as well. Because we use sign language as a family, E doesn't miss out on anything whether he chooses sound or not. It would actually be pretty nice if I could have a choice to "turn off my ears" when I needed some peace and quiet.

Some of these things are a little tongue in cheek, but others are true advantages of E being deaf:

• We can make all the noise we want after he goes to bed
• Storms, barking dogs, fireworks, etc do not disturb a good night's sleep
• E will never have to worry about a spouse that snores
• Need peace and quiet in your dorm to study? No problem for E
• Had all you can take of someone whining? Turn off your ears
• Need to tell someone something, but it's too loud in the crowd? Sign it!
• Want to communicate underwater? ASL to the rescue!

Think about it...how nice would it be to have an escape from the audio pollution from time to time?

Now that I've shared that bit of info, here's a picture of E since that's why you are REALLY visiting the blog ;-)

Daddy came home the other night and took off his hat and sunglasses. E picked them up and put them on. The paci completes the ensemble. This is our E and he makes me smile and laugh constantly. I cannot describe the joy this little cuddle bug brings to our lives!

Monday, July 16, 2012

Must Be a Waffle

This past weekend, my husband officiated a wedding in SC. We were able to go back to Spartanburg, where we lived for three years prior to moving to NC. As we entered the city, we saw that the Hot and Now sign was on at the Krispy Kreme. To my husband, this classifies as a sign from God that he must have doughnuts. A hot-off-the-line Krispy Kreme flat out melts in your mouth and there is not much that tastes better on this earth! We decided it was time for E's first Hot and Now experience and yes, it warranted taking a picture with the neon sign:

E loved watching the doughnuts being made on the conveyor. Of course, he really loved the final product of warm, gooey deliciousness. E had never had or seen a doughnut and so he used his logic when asking for more. He signed "more waffle." The only sweet, round thing he had ever eaten was either a waffle or a cookie. Round + Sweet + Hot...must be a WAFFLE!! I love that toddler thought process :-)

Tuesday, July 3, 2012

The Two's

So, E is two years old now. If you say, "Oh, no...TERRIBLE two's!," I may be compelled to hurt you. I don't think there is anything terrible about a two-year-old. There are good days and there are bad days, but mostly, there are just days when they are trying to figure out how do handle things on their own. There is nothing terrible about that. Thus far, we have been extremely blessed to have a very well behaved toddler. I am always so proud when people comment on how nicely he is sitting in a restaurant or behaving in public. My husband had to take E with him to sit through a church business conference the other night. Adults have difficulty sitting through these. E read his books and played with his iPad and behaved beautifully for the entire thing! We can take E to restaurants. He refuses to sit in a high chair or booster since he wants to be big like everyone else, but he behaves like a little gentleman as he sits on a regular chair with his head peeking above the table. The key to getting these results is knowing our child. When he is due for a nap and rubbing his eyes...guess what...not the time to take him to run errands. When he has been cooped up in the house on a rainy day...you got it...not the time to expect him to sit quietly for an hour. There are of course hits and misses on our toddler learning curve. Here are a couple examples of our recent adventures:

A Miss!

We needed groceries on Sunday after church. We needed them in the way that we had nothing in the house I could make a meal from and you would hear an echo if you spoke with the fridge door open. Yeah. We like to wait until we HAVE to go to the grocery store. One of the new stores in town has mini shopping carts for kids. I thought E might like "shopping" beside Mommy. Oh he liked it...just not the "with Mommy" part. He took his cart and was off to the races before I could even get my cart out of the bay. Let me remind you that this was right after church and I was wearing uncomfortable heels not suitable for baby chasing. I abandoned my cart and caught up to him at the back of the store where he had already proceeded to fill his cart with anything at eye level. This included spray butter, chocolate dipping sauce, bakery pastries, and a peach. Clearly, this was not a good idea. He was not happy to see me put back all of his carefully chosen treasures and even less happy when we had to put back the cart. The rest of the shopping trip was spent with him secured in one of the race car shopping carts, protesting my decision. Lesson learned. Part of me wants to take him back when I do not have to actually accomplish anything and just follow him to see what he picks up and what he does when his cart is full??

A Hit!

When we returned home from our grocery shopping misadventure, I decided to let E help me make a banana pudding for Daddy. This is the first time I allowed E to help me with a real kitchen concoction. He is all about autonomy right now and wants to do everything "big people" do. I gave him a whisk and let him mix the ingredients. He did a wonderful job! He was very patient, waited for my instruction to stir after each addition, and was very pleased with his efforts. We celebrated with the traditional "licking of the spoon."

Our current philosophy is, "Let him try it." Sometimes, it is just to see what he does when given the option. Other times, it is so he can learn from the mistake we know he is about to make. Bottom line though, you will NOT hear me say my child is a TERRIBLE anything in front of him. I believe in speaking kind words about a child when they are present. I think children as well as adults live up to the expectations you set for them. If your child constantly hears that they are "terrible two" or any other unpleasant descriptor, don't be surprised when they prove you right. Is my child perfect? No. Will he always behave? Of course not. Will he publicly embarrass me and make me look like a lunatic mom? Most assuredly. He is two and there is nothing terrible about it :-)

Saturday, June 9, 2012

Playing with a Tiger

That's right! Today, we took E to Zootastic in Troutman, NC to the "cub experience." We spent the morning playing with an 8-week-old tiger cub named Spar. There are some moments in life where you feel like an awesome mom. Watching your kid giggle while playing with a TIGER CUB is one of them :-) The three of us had a wonderful time feeding, playing, and cuddling with this striped cutie. After the cub time, we took a tour to see some of the other animals. This was E's first time at a zoo and he really loved it!

Meet "Spar"

 SO Excited!

Yes, it was a great day! I love seeing the amazement and wonder on my little boy's face when he experiences things for the first time. Thanks to E, the staff at the zoo also learned the ASL signs for many of the animals. They are expecting to have a lion cub in residence soon and a new cub experience, so we will have to check back to see when we can do it again. How fun would it be to have a Daniel and the Lion's Den Bible lesson and follow it up with time with a real lion cub?!

Friday, June 8, 2012

Water, Water Everywhere!

 The final day of VBS is water day at our church. We bring a fire truck and they raise the hose high into the air on the ladder and spray down creating a HUGE shower of water for the kids. Don't worry, they pull the water from the river and it is not wasted. E's face was priceless when he walked out and saw the cascade of water. He put his hands in the air and said, "OHHHHHH!" He was the smallest one out there that decided to get into the spray. The other toddlers were more content with the puddles off to the side. As I have mentioned before, this kid has no fear.

Within the first minute or so of running into the water, E was knocked to the ground by an older kid that was not watching where he was going. That's just kids. They get excited. The bump knocked E on his booty and the momentum threw him on back so that he bumped his head on the concrete. After a short, 30 second cry, he was ready to go again, but this resulted in my husband and me "boxing out" around E and looking like crazed basketball guards in an attempt to prevent E being run over again. We laughed later at the concern that we may have taken out someone's kid if they had hit him. We were in full Mama and Papa Bear mode! I try not to be overprotective, but toddlers and hard surfaces are just not a good mix ;-)

Saturday, June 2, 2012

Oh "Two"dles!

Today, my baby turned two! We had a Mickey Mouse themed party with family and a few great friends. Thank you to everyone who came to help us celebrate our wonderful little boy :-) I am running very low on photos because, in my craziness, I grabbed the camera, but not the camera's battery. Thank goodness for smart phones!

 We began the birthday morning by letting E run in and see his present from mommy and daddy waiting for him in the living room. E loves all things art so he now has his very own art center.

Cupcakes, fruit, Chick-fil-a nuggets, chips, candy, ice cream, and popsicles created a great party spread. Many thanks to my mother-in-law, sister-in-law, mom, and best friend who all helped me to prepare everything so quickly. The great thing about a summer birthday is the abundance of delicious fruit in season!

Mickey party hats for the little ones seemed like a good idea, but E was only interested in trying it on for a minute. It was cute while it lasted.

E really scored some great gifts! Clothes, cars, trucks, art supplies, building blocks, water sprinklers and college fund money were just a few of the fun things he received. One very brave and loving friend gave E his first drum set. He seemed get the hag of it immediately. After finding his groove, he even decided to jam with his eyes closed and his rock 'n roll face on. You may be able to hear him add in a bit of singing lol.