Tuesday, August 28, 2007


Our visit here is going so fast! It probably seems that way becuase I have been so busy getting some of the things done I've wanted to do. I (along with Nancy and Eric's help) have laminated 15 file folders and two quiet picture books for Elia for church.
Eric and I have also been busy applying for jobs!
It has also been great for Elia to spend time with her cousins. Everytime it is time to go home from their house she says, "Not yet!" Our first Saturday here we celebrated the birthday of Elia's cousin Samuel and next weekend we will celebrate Elia's birthday (which is on Sept. 6) and her cousin Emily's birthday (which is on Sept. 5). Cake anyone? (Clockwise from far left: Bryton, Elia, Emily, Samuel, Oakley)Elia plays with Emily and Samuel almost every day and loves it! She is almost exactly halfway between the two of them and they all seem to get along great.
The past two weekends we have also had our other cousins up to visit. In the picture below, Oakley had the chore of washing the glass door, but Elia and Emily though it looked fun so they jumped in and wanted to squirt and wipe the door clean. It reminded us all of Tom Sawyer.Eric's niece Bre has also paid a few visits. We go to her apartment's pool to keep up with our swimming.

Jumping on the twin matress in the playroom is a favorite pasttime. It also is a good alternative to the discouraged sport of couch jumping.

Sunday, August 19, 2007

Over the River and Through the Woods to Nana's House We Go

Well, our first full day at Nana and Grandpa's has come to a close. After a strenuous trip yesterday it has been nice to just relax. We hit traffic most of the way home from the airport and instead of landing at 2:00 and getting home at 3:30, we got home at 5:30. The flight wasn't bad though. Ethan slept and Elia watched part of Shrek.

Today we went to Samuel's (Elia's cousin) birthday. It was really more like an informal family gathering with cake and food. We hung out and chatted most of the day while the kids (5 under 4 and 3 under 12) played together.

Elia has really taken to her cousin Bre and her Grandpa (I guess Nana got her turn in Arizona, though Elia still goes to her, I think she likes the change). She has always liked Ken (that's Eric's dad) and this time is no exception. Basically she prefers most people to her "Mama", but when she gets hurt she still comes to me :). I guess I'm not totally out of a job. Today Ken and I were talking about something and playing back and forth. Elia was watching the conversation and "shhhshed" him. We all laughed, especially because she is THE ONLY person who could ever get away with that to Ken.

Another funny moment was when she said, "Actually,... I would like some more ice cream." My reply? "Actually, I think you are done."

She also is still into her "probably not" whenever she doesn't want to do something. Nana once had some toys she was showing to Ethan and one by one Elia came to take them. After she had taken the last toy, Nana asked her if she could have one toy back to show Ethan and she said, "probably not". She was right. She never brought a toy back. We are trying to teach her the concept that she has to trade toys if she wants what Ethan is playing with. Nancy had a little bug that made noise when a button was pushed. Elia wanted it, so brought Nancy a small black and white cat finger puppet to exchange. Nancy wasn't sure that was a fair trade, but we are teaching concepts right?

Thursday, August 16, 2007

Little Athlete

In one day, Ethan is rolling over at will. He even escaped from his swaddle and rolled over twice when he was trying to go to sleep. There isn't really enough room to roll much in the bassinett, so it was a little distressing to him. He has also really taken to this ball. He can grip it with just his feet! It is so funny to see his little toes curve in to get it. You put it on his belly and he immediately pulls his feet up to grab it. I think we have a future soccer player!!! OK, so maybe it's too early to tell that, but a little hoping can help. Right?

Nana's Visit and Saguaro National Park

It's hard to believe that Nancy has already been here for a week! The time has just flown by and now that we are going to leave for Utah tomorrow, it seems there is so much to do. We found out yesterday that we can get our kitchen redone while we are gone, but we have to empty out all our cupboards! Luckily, we don't have that many cupboards to empty out. We will be scrambling to get packed and empty our kitchen out today so we can leave tomorrow.

As usual, Nancy's visit has been great. It is nice to have an extra set of hands and extra company during the day when Eric is gone. On Tuesday, we went to Tucson to see Saguaro National Park. I have wanted to get there before we leave Arizona and with Eric's crazy school schedule, I'm not sure if I'll have any other chances. By the end of the 2 hour and 15 minute drive (we got stuck in very slow moving traffic for about 45 minutes of it) Ethan had about had it with the car seat, and there was still a lot of driving between the east and west park. He did quite a bit of crying. We once talked to someone who was convinced that their children were good singers because they had cried very loud and developed their lungs well. I guess we're making a singer!

We went to the east park first because I wanted to hit sunset at the west park. The east park seemed nice until we went to the west park. That was really impressive. I was worried because the rain started to pour right as we hit the east park, but it didn't last long. Here is one of the pictures I took at the east park. I really liked these plants because they were just so unusual. You can see how big it is if you look for Elia in the bottom right corner!
The west park was much more impressive. There were huge cacti all over and we stayed until the sun had set completely. Elia did great throughout the long drive and the views were great especially in the setting sun. I will definitely go back if I have the chance.

In Ethan's corner, he is now rolling over from his back to his stomach. He started doing this yesterday. In two days he will be four months old. He is just getting big fast, but is cute as ever. He is doing pretty good at night. He wakes up once, but after we rewrap him he settles back down. He gets out of his swaddle almost as soon as we wrap him up, but he still seems to like starting out that way. We'll see what happens.

Elia still thinks she needs to get up once a night. Nancy has been intercepting her (which has been so nice!!!) but we still are not sure what to do. Hopefully it will pass soon. When we put her to bed and get our hugs from her she often holds us tight and says, "Just rest a little". She has also decided that her parents should sit in time out once in a while. It started when we were role-playing with her about the appropriate way to go to and sit in time out (vs. throwing a fit about sitting in the chair). Now she thinks she can put us there. I was cleaning up and threw away a key that no longer goes to anything. She found it in the trash can as she was throwing something else away, came and got me, and told me I had to sit in time out! Just to play with her, I did, but would get up and shout a little that I didn't want to go to time out. She would "shhhsh" me and lead me back to "my chair". Her time-outs are going much better. We put her chair in the corner and put her in one of our big table chairs. It is less easily moved by kicking and pushing little feet.

We've talked about funny things she says, when she talks on her play phone she says, "Hello?" and "I'll call you right back" then hangs up the phone. I know I do this to Eric quite frequently. It is very difficult to talk when changing dirty diapers or handling a distraught child so often I say I'll call him back. I know she got that one from me!

I feel I often talk about the distressing times, but Elia really is getting to be so pleasant. She has to be reminded sometimes, but often she'll say please and thank you without being prompted and is usually willing to help me pick up her toys and the house a little before we go places. She loves dancing to music and has really gotten into "wrestling" with Papa. She is still fairly fanatical about matching and must wear pink with pink. She picks out my least favorite shirts to wear (so I've learned to hide those, though I'm not sure why I keep them) and her favorite color is purple. She also can recognize the letters E and I and sometimes O. I'm thinking about focusing on a letter a day after she turns three. That will give us something new to do.

Sunday, August 12, 2007

Cooks and Books

We've been having a great time with Nana's visit. We haven't done much out of the ordinary, but it is nice to catch up on some lost sleep during the day. Today I got to take two naps! I feel as though until I'm done having children (and maybe even after) I will never be fully rested or caught up on my sleep. It's worth it though! :)

This morning we made biscuits. My job was flouring the cookie cutters, Elia's job was pressing them into the dough and Eric's job was shaping and flattening the dough. Elia tried a few times to take over our jobs, but we'd tell her, "That's my job, or that's Papa's job," etc. The one time I tried to fix one of her cutouts she said to me, "Hey, that's my job." She also read Nana a story today called "color zoo" It has pictures of different animals made out of different shapes and in different colors. She would point to a picture and say, "What's that" or "What color is that". When Nana would reply correctly, she would repeat what Nana said and say, "That's right" or "Good Job". Nancy pointed out that you can hear what you say when your children play. It is funny to see her say things like that. She has also picked up, "Oh, my gosh," though that is one of those sayings that we don't say, so we're not sure who she learned that from.
Elia never stops talking and Ethan is really jabbering too. Whenever you talk to him, he talks back with these high pitched squeaks and tones. It is fun. He especially loves Elia and always smiles when she is near.
On the swimming front, she discovered somersaults in the water. She just said, "Watch me" one day and did it. So, they aren't perfect somersaults, but she has the idea. She also can swim from one edge of the pool to the other with a couple of breaths in between.

On Friday we went to a church party. The theme was "back to school". I taught a geography class about state capitals and state nicknames. I pulled out my fake glasses to look more "teacherly" and Elia decided she would try them on too.

In other news, I once again proved my failure at plant raising. We have been plant sitting three plants for our friends Dave and Tiffany Price while they are on their internship. We'd been doing really well and even succeeded in improving the condition of one of the plants they weren't sure would make it. Another plant, that was in no danger when they left it, gave up yesterday and literally in two days shed all its leaves. I felt so bad (though I had warned them before they left). They are coming back in one week! Couldn't it have waited?!

Tonight we made luscious lemon cookies. Are you ready for the recipe? One box of lemon cake mix, one stick margarine or butter, one egg. Mix together, form in balls, bake at 350 for 8-10 min. We take ours out of the oven before they look done and let them cool on the pan. They are really chewy and good. This works with any cake mix. Eric likes chocolate cake mix and puts cream cheese frosting in between two cookies for homemade oreos. Yum!

Saturday, August 11, 2007

Sleep is good!

They did it! Elia slept through the night last night and Ethan didn't need to eat during the night! It was amazing! Ethan did wake up once at 3:00, but I wrapped him back up and put him back down. I did give him the pacifier (which I never do) because I didn't want to guess if he was crying because he was hungry or just crying because he wanted to nurse (there is a difference there). He went back to sleep without a peep!

Elia has picked up the words stupid and dumb from somewhere. I'm not sure who has said them around her because we don't say them. At first when she said stupid, I said, "Yes, that's super" (the way stupid sounds is kind of like super). But now, I've decided to just ignore it everytime she says it. We'll see how quickly it distinguishes itself. I can tell that everytime she says it she wants me to respond. What a smart girl.

She has also taken to reciting back these monster stories by Mercer Mayer. She can recite them almost word for word.

Friday, August 10, 2007

Loosing hair

So, I went through all the pictures from the time we moved to Arizona until now with Eric's mom. It was fun to look back and see all the fun things we've done since we moved here. It was a little sad though. As I looked at Ethan's baby pictures, I realized how much hair he had when he was born compared to now! I am particularly attached to his hair because it is dark (or was anyway) and we are blondies around here. Maybe I shouldn't scrub it anymore when I wash it! His hair seems to be coming in lighter, though maybe not blonde. We will have to wait and see.

Books and peppery vitamins

I forgot to write about something funny that Elia did last week. So, I've been writing how she gets up by herself in the morning and we don't hear her, well, last week, she got up and was playing with the pepper and salt. I saw pepper and salt spilled on the tray we keep it on. Well, I also keep my vitamins on the tray and when I went to get a vitamin out the next morning I found pepper all inside the bottle. So far I haven't eaten a peppery vitamin, but I'm not looking forward to it!

In other news, last night I went to my book club discussion book. We've been reading a book called To Destroy You Is No Loss: The Odyssey of a Cambodian Family by JoAn Criddle. It was very interesting and thought-provoking. It was all about how this upper-middle class family went from prosperity to poverty in a matter of days when a communist Cambodian faction took over Cambodia. They worked and lived like slaves for four years until the communist faction fell. The book then documents their exodus out of Cambodia and into Thailand. It wasn't a light-hearted book, but it talked about the importance of attitude and the power of the mind as well as the strength of families.
It reminded me of one of my favorite quotes by Charles Swindoll:
"The longer I live, the more I realize the impact of attitude on life. Attitude, to me, is more important than facts. It is more important than the past, than education, than money, than circumstances, than failures, than successes, than what other people think or say or do. It is more important than appearance, giftedness, or skill. It will make or break a company ... a church ... a home. The remarkable thing is we have a choice every day regarding the attitude we will embrace for that day. We cannot change the inevitable. The only thing we can do is play on the one string we have, and that is our attitude ... I am convinced that life is 10% what happens to me, and 90% how I react to it. And so it is with you ... we are in charge of our Attitudes."

Thursday, August 9, 2007

Little "Left-out" Ethan

So, it was brought to my attention, that Ethan was not getting equal coverage on the blog, so I am posting a few pictures of him. He is now 3.75 months old and in the 75th percentile in weight and height. Last week when we weighed him he was 15 pounds! Just to compare, I looked through Elia's book. She was 15 pounds at 6 months.
Even as I post pictures of Ethan, it is hard not to include the rest of the family! Someday he will be an individual, but right now he is more part of the collective whole. That's not a bad thing though right?
Two peas in a pod. Last week Ethan was fussing and I wasn't sure what Elia would do, but I asked her to please go talk to him. She went right over to his swing and made him smile. I tell her all the time that she is going to teach Ethan cool things like how to read and walk when he gets bigger. She seems willing and enthusiastic about the prospects! How lucky for us.

Monday, August 6, 2007

Rawhide and Cookies (and dough)

Well, it’s been a fun weekend for us. On Friday we had our date night where we trade babysitting with two other families. This week it was Joy and Mike’s turn to watch the three girls and they entertained them with cookie making! We thought that was very adventurous of them to try to get three toddlers in the kitchen with flour and chocolate! They did a great job though and we got to take home a plate of cookies! Our date itself was not the most exciting. We didn’t want to spend a lot of money on something like eating out and the movies we wanted to see were all over two hours long so what did we do? We went looking for Elia’s birthday present. She sees me taking pictures all the time and always wants to take pictures. She takes pictures of Watson, Ethan, her shoes, Elmo, or whatever else she can so that she can hold the camera.
We had actually been planning to get her a cheap digital camera for her birthday, and we’ve been telling her that her birthday’s coming, but one day out of the blue she announced, “I want a pink camera for my birthday, Rachel (one of her friends) wants a purple one, and Joy (Rachel’s mom) wants a black one.” We didn’t even know she equated a birthday with gifts! There is no turning back now, though we want to keep birthdays (and Christmas) in moderation. The camera is all we’ll get her for her birthday and we’ll have a little party with friends and treats, but no gifts. We have too many toys as it is!
So, for our very romantic date we hit Ritz and then Target looking for a cheap camera for her. We think she will have a lot of fun with it. It is kid friendly and, though we will teach her to treat it carefully, is durable enough to withstand dropping and kid hands.

On Friday night Jen’s mom came from Yuma (3 hours southwest) for a visit. We’re sure she comes to see the grandkids, but she sure likes playing Settlers of Catan! We played on Friday night with Sean, one of Eric’s schoolmates, then two games on Saturday. We destroyed our 9:30 bedtime and stayed up until 12:30 on Friday and 1:30 on Saturday! I am feeling it today, but it was fun. On Saturday night we went to Rawhide, this old-style town south of Phoenix with the Thunderkids group. Elia participated in a shoe race, during which she fell, but still won a t-shirt. It was fun to be with other people, but it was so hot and unimpressive. Let’s just say, we won’t be returning! On Sunday morning, Elia got a taste of making cookies Lowry style" with her Grandma. We dump all the ingredients in the bowl and mix with our hands. Even though he admits that can’t tell a difference, Eric still insists on creaming the sugar and butter and vanilla and eggs together then adding the dry ingredients. For all you out there who do this let it be written: IT DOESN’T MAKE A DIFFERENCE! Just try it! Elia wasn’t too sure about this whole mixing with hands thing at first, but then when we told her about licking her hands after she was done, she got a lot more involved.

So the week has started again. Eric’s finals end in just three weeks. On Thursday Nana (Eric’s mom) comes for a visit. We’re excited to have more company to give variety to our routine!
Also, our little girl came up with two new Eliaism (those cute things she says that make us laugh) today. She saw a plane overhead and said, “Look at that plane. It’s going that way… I can’t believe it!” Then later on our walk I said, “I love my little girl.” Elia replied, “Yeah, I love you guys too.”

Thursday, August 2, 2007

An evening walk

We used to go on walks in the evening all the time, but because it's been so hot all summer we haven't been able to go. However, tonight was quite pleasant and we took a stroll over to campus. Elia loves to control Watson, though I don't think the feeling is mutual.
She hardly ever stopped moving and seemed to make a game of me trying to get her picture. In most of the pictures (not the ones here) she has this super great smile that is all blurred because she is running so fast!
Another of her favorite things is to get a drink from every drinking fountain she comes to and she loves playing in the campus fountains. "Feels so nice!"