Tuesday, October 19, 2010

A Little Fall Fun

I wanted to do something as a family for Eli and Landon's actual birthday weekend, since we had their party the weekend before. So, the day after their birthday, we took the boys to Fiddlesticks Farms, which is a little corn maze/pumpkin patch/petting zoo a little over an hour from Sndyer. I love spending days together as a family and the boys had a great time exploring the "farm."

Our friends, Justin, Meagan, and Anna went with us. Anna is just a few weeks younger than Eli and Landon and she is in their Bible class at church.

The best part of this ride was watching Dustin cram himself into this little train car. I have to admit that it was pretty uncomfortable and crowded even for me.

We got to see pigs and baby pigs, goats and baby goats, chickens, cows and calves. We got to see the cow being milked and the baby calves being bottle fed. Eli and Landon pretty much love any and all animals.

Monday, October 11, 2010

The End of an Era

Because Eli and Landon were so premature, they qualified for an assessment by ECI: Early Childhood Intervention. This is a state and government program that provides services to children who are at risk for developmental delays. So a group of sweet ladies came to our house just days after we got home from the hospital and performed the assessment on Eli and Landon. Do you know what premature babies do all day when they haven't even reached their actual due date? Sleep. Eli and Landon slept through the entire thing. Despite our best efforts to wake them up...they slept.

But through our converstaions, it was determined that Eli qualified for services based on all of the trouble he initially had with eating. The first few months of Eli's life, he had a lot of trouble with sucking. He would try to eat and his bib, burp cloth, and clothes would all be soaked. He was so little and I was so afraid that he wasn't even getting anything...that it was all just coming out the sides of his mouth. So Macy, our case manager and Carol, our occupational therapist visited us twice a month to check on his progress and provide therapy and strategies for improvement. They did more than that though. They provided emotional support and strategies/information/research for any and all concerns I had regarding Eli and Landon, no matter how big or small of a problem and no matter what area it was in.

After that first year, Eli had grown out of all of his eating issues and was doing wonderfully. When they came for his annual evaluation, it was kind of understood in the group that he probably wouldn't qualify. But at the end of the assessment, Eli was scoring 3 months behind in the area of communication, which is the marker for delay. It was kind of bittersweet that he requalified. Let's be honest...someone is getting paid to come to my house and talk to me about my kids (and I don't have to pay them). Who wouldn't love that. It was like a paid friendship and I had no shame about it....I was going to hold on as long as possible. We got a new case manager, Ginger, and we adore her. She's sweet and funny and just all around wonderful.

So for the past year, Ginger has visited us every other month for about an hour to check on Eli and Landon. Since the boys just had their second birthday, it was time for their annual evaluation. Carol and Ginger came this morning and...shocker...Eli no longer qualifies. So our days with ECI are over and we no longer get to hang out with Miss Ginger every now and then (although she promises to stop in and see us occassionally).

I just thought this was worth recording because it's been a part of Eli and Landon's lives for the past two years. We were blessed to have these ladies when we needed them, but it's nice to know that Eli and Landon are right on track developmentally and there are absolutely no concerns.

Here are the boys with Miss Carol and Miss Ginger this morning. Thanks, Ladies! We love you!

Friday, October 8, 2010

Happy 2nd Birthday!

You know how sometimes you think you know about something...until you're later on down the road and you realize that at that earlier time....you really didn't know much at all. That's how I feel about love.

In college, I started dating Dustin and I finally knew what love was. I adored him. I respected him. I thought he could hang the moon. (And this isn't just past tense...I still do)

As we got married and celebrated our first few anniversaries, I realized how little I actually knew about him before, but how much more my love had grown as a result of the time and experiences we had shared.

And then two years ago, our world was changed forever when Eli and Landon entered this world. I loved them instantly. I loved them unconditionally. And my whole purpose in life all of a sudden became taking care of these two tiny bodies. I've never cried so much as those first few weeks of their lives, but I've never felt so much joy either. And it was then that I felt like I really understood love.

But here I am two years later and I love those boys leaps and bounds more than I did that first day. And I'm having more fun with them now than I ever have. It is such a joy and blessing to be their momma. I love them because they are part of me, but I love them even more because they are also a part of Dustin (hopefully a much bigger part).

I guess that's the thing about love...it's always growing and changing. Maybe being a mother heightens your senses and makes you feel all emotions a little deeper than before. Or maybe I'm just a little overly emotional :) Whatever the case... I have never been happier than this exact moment. My heart is so full and my life is so richly blessed. There is no greater earthly blessing than our families and I am especially thankful for mine today as I celebrate Eli and Landon's 2nd birthday.

Eli and Landon have really been changing and growing a lot lately. Eli is still a little spazz and Landon is still my tender-hearted little guy, but here are a few more details about what they are up to these days.

Eli has a new-found love of football. You have to understand that Dustin and I are not huge sports fanatics. We rarely watch sports on t.v. and it's just not a love that we have fostered in our kids. I would love them to be involved in whatever activities they choose, but we haven't pushed it. So when Eli started bringing me the t.v. controller and saying "butt-ball" (football)...it surprised me. If I turn it on, he yells things like "oh, man" and "get it" and he points to the ball wherever it is on the field. It's all a little bizarre to me. How do kids form preferences like that completely on their own? Landon usually joins in the fun, but he would rather watch animal planet or cartoons.

Eli and Landon sleep very well in their toddler beds at night, but don't do so hot during naptime. I'm having to lay down on the floor in their room until they fall asleep if I want them to take a nap...which I do! Most days, I end up falling asleep even before they do, so this hasn't been good for productivity around here.

It seems like every day, they say new words. Everyone always told me that right around two years old, their speech would really take off and that has certainly proved to be true. They are pretty good about getting their point across...even if it takes a little deciphering.

They love all things automobiles: tractors, dump trucks, cars, motorcycles, fire trucks, buses...if it has wheels and goes, they get really excited about it. They got a lot of dump trucks and tractors for their birthday and they have spent hours outside, sitting together, playing in the dirt with them.

We are venturing into the world of potty training. I honestly don't think they are ready to really go at it full force, but they know how to go tee-tee on the potty and we encourage it during diaper changes or before their bath at night. I'm not that excited about potty training...even if it will seem like a pay raise when we stop buying all those diapers.

We have started getting out and going to more activities. I haven't really tried many organized activities until this fall and now that we are going, I realize how un-ready they would have been back in the spring, so I'm glad I waited. But we now go to story time twice a week, they play with the other small kids from church on Wednesday mornings while I attend Ladies' Bible class, and I've been trying to get them together with other kids for play dates a little more. I've been very pleasantly surprised at their behaviour during story time. They listen and even comment on the pictures in the book, they participate in some of the songs and games, and they even did an organized craft last week....gasp! It's really good for all of us to get out and about. I especially love Thursdays because story time is held at a cute, little coffee shop in town. I feel like since they are putting on this free activity for my kids, the least I can do is show them a little support and buy something, right?

We no longer love our Bible class. I think it may have just been a little too much change...new classroom, new friends, new teachers. Whatever the case, Eli and Landon just scream and cry for us. It is really heart-breaking and a little frustrating since we used to do so well. Wednesday nights are even worse because they are so tired. I'm teaching on Wednesday nights right next door to their classroom. I must say that they are quite disrupting. Dustin has had to stay in there the past two Wednesday nights. I really hope we make this adjustment soon so we can all go on with our lives :)

I have so much more I could write about, but we'll leave it at that for now. I really thought that I was a baby person, but now I know that I'm much more of a toddler person. I just love this age!

So Happy 2nd Birthday, Eli and Landon! May your little lives be as blessed as you have made mine.
Love, Momma

Monday, October 4, 2010

Eli & Landon's 2nd Birthday Party

I almost didn't have a big party this year. My sister is getting married this month and her bridal shower ended up being on the same date I had planned on having the boys' party. So I struggled with whether or not to go ahead with it, move the party up, or not have one at all and just do something really special with just me, Dustin, and the boys. My love of parties won this battle and so with just one week to get it together, I decided on moving it up a week to this past Saturday.

I'm SO glad that I did. Eli and Landon were beyond excited about the whole thing. They loved the decorations. They loved the balloons. They loved their dirt cake. They LOVED when everyone started arriving and all of the people they love the most were all in one place. I pretty much loved all of that too. It was a really fun day and I appreciate so much how all of our family drove so far to help us celebrate.

Here was the invitation (sent out only a week before the party...better late notice than no notice at all I guess). We (just barely) did a dump truck theme. Eli and Landon love dump trucks!

And here are just some random pictures from the day:

I did individual dirt cakes with gummy worms instead of a big cake. The boys certainly enjoyed theirs, as you will see later.

We had pulled pork sandwiches, chips and dip, veggies and dip, caramel corn, and dirt cake. 

All of the Grigsby men going back for more food.

Dustin borrowed a big table from work and it worked out perfectly. All of the men were quite happy to be outside because...

Dustin rigged up a T.V. out there so football could be on at all times.

We sang happy birthday to the boys, but they were very unsure about blowing out their candles. Landon finally blew his out, but Eli never did. You would have thought Landon made the winning point in some high stakes game the way we all cheered for him. I love making a really big deal out of my boys!

And then we left them alone to enjoy their dirt cake. And enjoy it they certainly did.

We opened presents after that. It was a little chaotic and I didn't get any pictures. Eli and Landon got a t-ball set, lots of stinkin' adorable clothes that we can't wait to wear this fall/winter, dump trucks, movies, balls, cars, toys, books, tractors, and new cowboy boots. They put their boots on and wouldn't take them off the rest of the day. They are loving all of their new toys!  We spent the rest of the day outside playing with all our new stuff. It was SUCH a beautiful day. 

Sweet, sweet Brynna even got in on the fun.

And D'Laney pretty much stayed in this big planter and played in the dirt most of the afternoon. 

Eva was so sweet to come on Thursday and hang out for a few days and help me get ready for the party. I love this girl! This is the only picture we got and Lance took it, so it isn't exactly in focus...

Most everyone was gone by about 4:30 so we laid our very exhausted boys down for a nap. 

And just because...here are some pictures from the park this morning. 

And just for the record, here is who came to Eli and Landon's 2nd Birthday Bash:
Daddy, Mommy, Grammy, Katelyn, Nemo, Papa, Lance, Kevin, Amber, Kathy, Shawn, Ryder, Loren, Orin, Amy, D'Laney, Brynna, Susie, Lloyd, Eva, Cathy, Heather, Phil, Autumn, Sarah, Joshua, Karly, D'Ann, James, Keitha, Karen, Perry, and Rick and Starkye stopped by on their way out of town.

It was a fun day for Eli and Landon and we are blessed that so many people that we love wanted to come and help us celebrate these two sweet little lives.
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