Monday, June 28, 2010

Who needs a pool?

Who needs a pool when you have a mud hole?

One weekend we were getting ready for a family BBQ and I was cleaning off the patio. Part of cleaning is hosing the entire porch off because our wonderful dogs love to potty on the cement instead of the grass...lovely.
Anyway, when Eli saw me with the water hose he had to come outside. I told Chris that it was fine, just make sure he had shoes on (I didn't want him walking bare foot in the nasty dog mess).
He had a blast! We finished up and started setting out the table and chairs. We both commented on how good Eli was being. We hadn't heard a peep from him....then we found him.

Behind our rose bush he had found a huge mud hole, and a pair of plastic safety goggles.
What more could a boy want?

We had mud everywhere! By the time we found him there was little to do but go grab the camera. Shortly after these pictures he sat in the mud. I sure am glad that I asked Chris to put shoes on that boy! Can you see them through the mud?

Thursday, June 17, 2010

17 months...

Last week I helped out at Vacation Bible School at our church. I worked with 5 year olds. It was exhausting, but so fun. It was so great to watch every little kid make something for their mommy in craft time. I thought, "Oh, Eli will be making stuff for me one day! That will be so cute!" Actually, my luck he will be making it for his daddy! Ha!
 Every day when I would pick up Eli from the nursery I would be teary-eyed because I can only imagine what he will be like when he is that age. It seems like he is growing up so fast!

And then, the last day, the nursery workers did me in.
We had to make a little scrapbook for each of our kiddos showing what they learned through the week, but I had no idea that Eli's teachers would do one for him too. The camp doesn't take kiddos his age, so the only ones in his room were other workers' children. Anyway, I picked him up as normal and when we got home I was looking through his diaper bag and found this...
(sorry for the crummy pictures, but I just snapped them with my camera really quickly.)

So plain and simple, but heart-wrenching.
I don't know how long I cried or really why I was crying. This was the first "thing" that Eli had made to bring home to us. I am crying now writing about it! How silly!
It is now proudly displayed on our fridge.

Eli, you are 17 months!
You are getting so big and independent.
Your favorite food is still bananas and you could eat your weight in cheese, if I would let you.
You know your animal sounds and where your head, shoulders, knees, toes, eyes, ears, mouth and nose are.
You can throw a pretty mean temper tantrum- complete with banging your head on the floor/wall to get our attention.
You love to be outside and play with bubbles.
You love to help mommy and daddy by getting their shoes for them.
You love to run up to your puppies and get kisses.
You also love to shake peoples hand and tell them "bye-bye" and "hi".
Your favorite thing in the world right now are trucks. 
About two weeks ago you figured out that you can stick your finger up your nose- fun times.

You really are such a joy! You have brought us so much laughter and fun memories!
We love you, baby boy!

Wednesday, June 16, 2010

Want to try something new?

So, one of my New Year's Resolutions was to try one new recipe a month; this is my first month to actually follow through! Hooray!
Last night I made a Chicken Enchilada Ring for dinner.
I have to admit, I was a little skeptical when I saw this recipe. I am not a pre-made, refrigerated dough fan. It just tastes funny to me. I also don't like sour cream, but Chris loves it. So, I decided to give this recipe a whirl anyway.
Chris and I both really enjoyed it. It really didn't take that long either; about 10min prep and 20 in the oven. That is my kind of cooking!

Basically, you combine all of the ingredients into a bowl and then take your crescent rolls and make a circle with the bases overlapping. I felt like laying out the rolls was the hardest part! I kept asking Chris "Does this look right?" Really, I don't think that it matters that much; you really cannot mess it up. (I did leave out 2 or 3 of the rolls because I thought that it was getting really dough-y with all of the bottoms overlapping.) Then you take you chicken mixture and fill in the bottom like so,

Then fold over the edges, top with tortilla chip crumbs...bake at 375 for 20 min...

and dinner is ready!

I was very surprised by how much we liked it. We both went back for seconds and we have two servings left for lunch this week.
We will definitely be making this again!

Here is the recipe! Have fun!

Chicken Enchilada Ring


2 cups cooked chicken
1/4 cup chopped black olives
1 cup cheddar cheese
1 small can chopped chilies, undrained
1/2 cup sour cream
1 package taco seasoning
2 rolls of crescent rolls
1 small chopped tomato
1 lime (juice)
2/3 cup finely crushed tortilla chips

1. Chop chicken and add olives, cheese, chilies, sour cream and taco mix. Seed and chop 1 tomato and add 2 tablespoons lime juice; add to chicken mixture. Reserve 2 Tbl. crushed chips and add remaining chips to mixture.

2.Unroll crescent dough and separate triangles. Arrange on round baking stone or cookie sheet making a circle with wide ends OVERLAPPING in the center and points toward outside. ( I did lightly spray oil on the cookie sheet I used). There should be a 5 inch diameter opening in the center.

3. Spread chicken mixture evenly onto widest end of each triangle.

4. Bring points of triangles up and over filling and tuck under wide ends of dough at the center of the ring.

Sprinkle with 2 Tblsp. crushed chips. ( I put shredded cheese all on top!)

5. Bake @ 375 for 20-25 minutes. Garnish with tomato and serve with salsa and sour cream.

Tuesday, June 08, 2010

It happens so quickly...

I can't believe how quickly Eli is catching on to things that Chris and I say and do. This month his vocab has increased like crazy and he is watching every move we make. I mean, he can't even speak in sentences and yet is storing up all these little things he sees Chris and I say and do....scary.

Last week Callie, our first-born, (the dog) was really excited to see daddy when he got home and wouldn't stop barking. Chris used his leg to move her out of the way so she wouldn't knock over Eli. I saw him tap her with his leg and said "Don't let Eli see you kick her!" Two seconds later, Eli walks up to Callie and kicks her...ooops.

Today at lunch Chris started singing a song on the radio..."With our hands held high, we're sing'n" and then Eli in his highchair finished the lyrics with "Whoa, whoa oh". I was doubting his ability to pull something like that off, so I tested him later and he did it again. I am amazed.

It really has me thinking about the words and tone that I use every day. I see parenting as the biggest, hardest, most important job that I will ever have. It floors me just how quickly kiddos start picking up on those things. Thankfully, we listen to Christian radio pretty much all the time, so hopefully we don't have to worry about that too much. But, I personally really need to watch how negative I am in my speech in front of Eli. I really don't want to talk negative all the time to him or about other people in front of him. It is soooo hard, but I can only imagine the difference it makes in a family atmosphere.

Eeeekkkk! I have a lot to work on!

Thursday, June 03, 2010

Just so you know...

our son is not perfect...despite those cute, smiling pictures that we post.

The pictures from the previous post were in the middle of the biggest fit that Eli has ever thrown. Seriously.
We were out of town, our schedule was out of whack, he didn't get a good nap...etc. All the fun that goes along with veering away from our regularly scheduled programming.

We take literally hundreds of pictures at a time of this little guy.
If we get one that we don't delete out of ten we are thrilled...thrilled.
Thank the Lord for digital.

Here are a few tips for taking pictures of your kiddo, for what it is worth from two young parents with an interest in photography.

1. We both feel like the best investment parents can make is in a good camera.
However, we have all taken phenomenal pictures from a crummy point and shoot! I, for one, have taken some pretty poor pictures with a big nice camera. The key is knowing how to use the camera you have! Read the manual. Once you know the in's and out's of your camera, the best way to set up your photos, and work with the environment, then think about if you are needing a better camera to facilitate your skills. Also, look into an editing program. We are Photoshop fanatics, but we wouldn't have been able to afford it if we hadn't bought the student version while we were in look into other programs that can help you enhance your photos post process. Do research online and critiques of the program too before you buy!

2. Know the lighting. Light can make or break a photo. If the sun is glaring down, casting huge shadows try to find some shade. Know what is in the one likes a picture with a tree sprouting out of their head! You can do wonders to pictures in Photoshop, but it is a long learning process if you don't know what you are doing. Worse case scenario, turn on your camera's fill flash to help even out the shadows...we don't like to use a flash if we don't have to...ever.

3. Be patient. A lot of the time our picture time with Eli takes this progression. Eli runs away (see above). We run, case him down and bring him back or move along with him (see below). Like I said, we take tons and tons of pictures.

We usually can find something to set Eli on...that gives us a few seconds to snap a few photos before he moves. Know also that they don't have to be looking at you all the time for a great picture. We have many of Eli not looking at us at all that we adore.
Also, look for natural props. Sometime photographers will bring in some sort of props, but (to me) a lot of the time it just looks cheesy. Whatever your taste. Distraction can be key at times, so weigh your options.

Follow your kiddo around. Eli did this totally on his own, we let him, and it is a cute picture. Dance, sing, make funny noises- whatever you have to do to get a little crack of a smile.
You know your kiddo best- you know what they find hilarious.

4. DO NOT GET UPSET. (I happen to think this is the most important one.) If you get flustered by the behavior of your child/children it will only make matters worse. Those little boogers can pick up on your attitude before you do sometimes!
We really agree that Eli is our best & favorite subject. Why you ask? Because there are no time restraints on our pictures with him. If he is tired or grumpy, we test the water, take a few shots to see if we can make him smile. If not, we go home. It is important to know when to walk away.

So, there you have it. From one set of parents to another, you know our tricks and trades of taking great kiddo pictures.

Does anyone else have any helpful hints to add?

Tuesday, June 01, 2010

10 more!

(Just ask my husband, he knows that I am serious.)

Here is just a taste of the cuteness from our "fire-drill" photo shoot with Eli while we were away for the long weekend. It is all that I can do to only allow myself to edit these and get back to the things I should be doing!
Hope everyone had a fun and safe holiday weekend!