Thursday, January 31, 2008

Eli's First Political Rally

Life is full of firsts these days, and yesterday was Eli's first political rally. Colorado is one of those Super Tuesday states that is suddenly so important, and since we're a "purple state," the candidates seem to be paying special attention to us. In fact, the Democratic National Convention is here in the summer. Anyway, because of this newfound status of Colorado as somehow important to the electoral politics of the US, we received word a few days ago that two campaigns were stopping at Eric's school: the Obama campaign yesterday morning, and the Clinton campaign (Bill, not Hillary) last night. We never made it to see Bill Clinton, although we wanted to. It started snowing (4 inches), and we didn't want to put Eli through another long wait outdoors. But we did get a chance to go to the Obama rally. Here's the photographic report:
You can't tell because of the bib, but that's a Obama Baby onesie on Eli there. He had to get all bundled up to be out in the cold....
....but there were obviously a few technical difficulties.
Eventually we made it to the event, which was being held in the university's hockey arena. We arrived about 15 minutes before the doors were supposed to open (got there at 8:15), and we found this--a line stretching somewhere between a quarter of a mile and a half a mile. So we got in line and waited.
Eli was patient as we waited in line...so patient that he quickly fell asleep. Rumors were swirling: the arena only held 8,000 people, some said. Others said 18,000. At any rate, it was clear that not everybody would get in: the Obama volunteers said they had over 18,000 web reservations alone, not counting the people who just showed up.
We waited, and Eli slept, off and on, for two hours. The line barely moved; security, they said, was slowing things down. Eventually, we made our way around the block, around the corner, around the block again, down the long sidewalk, and up the stairs to the arena....and then....tragedy struck.
This is where we ended up, about 5 people from getting into the doors. The fire marshall had shut it down. There were still thousands of people waiting to get in, but there was just no more room. They opened an overflow room with a live TV feed; that quickly filled up too, leaving thousands more of us stranded outdoors.

The remainder of us were herded onto a lacrosse field, where we waited, en masse, for something to happen. Eli got his picture taken with a couple of bona fide Secret Service agents. Then....
....the wait paid off! After two hours of standing in line in the cold (mid-20s) only to not get in to the building, those of us on the lacrosse field had a chance to meet Obama before he gave his speech in the arena. He came out for about 5 minutes, apologized for not being able to seat us all (like it's his fault half of Colorado came out to his rally), and gave a short version of his speech. It was like being at a rock concert...the crowd was incredibly enthusiastic, even for a bunch of half-frozen people standing on a lacrosse field.
They were going to pipe the sound from the arena out onto the field, but we decided to skip the speech and call it a day, since Eli was tuckered out (as you can see). Like we said, we had intentions of going to hear Bill Clinton in the evening, but with the snow and the general exhaustion, we decided to call it a night and head to bed early.

Not all of you share our political leanings, but those who do will be glad to know we're indoctrinating Eli well.

Saturday, January 26, 2008

Four Month Pictures and a Belly Laugh Video

UPDATE: Moments after this was posted, Eli had his first belly laugh, and we caught it on video. He was almost crying and almost laughing, but from time to time the laugh comes through. He just made his mom's day.

video

Eli's now just a few days short of his 4-month birthday (which seems unbelievable). He's doing some really amazing things these days--he rolls front to back with the greatest of ease, as if it were not even a challenge worthy of him. He grabs and holds things (usually in an effort to put them into his mouth). He talks to you in baby squeaks, trades raspberries with anyone who will play, and knows how to push the buttons on his exersaucer to make the thing talk to him. He's a wonder baby. Here are some of the latest photos:
Eli in his bumbo, playing with his favorite new ball. He sits in the bumbo easily now, just observing the world. He especially likes to do this as you're washing the dishes. As for the ball, he doesn't go anywhere without it. Eli with dad in his office last Friday night, just before dad's all-night youth lock-in. We think this hat is the cutest thing ever. Ever.
Eli on the floor after a bath. He really likes playtime on the floor.

Hanging out on the bed with his friend and soulmate, Mortimer the Moose. Eli and Mortimer are seldom separated, except for a few days last week when Eli peed on Mortimer's head and he was in the wash.
Eli liked bath time when he was brand new, then didn't love it for a while. He's back to liking it. This green bathtub is something we've had the whole time, but he's just gotten big enough for it, and he loves it. He can support himself in it, and loves splashing around with his feet.
After the bath, in the hooded towel.
We finally broke down and bought a glide rocker. Good call. Here, Eli demonstrates one of his newest skills, which is sitting up when he's propped up against something. He loves this.
Again, sitting up. Here, he's slouching, which is something that happens from time to time because he likes to kick his legs out and down, which makes his back slide down. So you always have to re-prop him. He'll sit like this and gnaw on Mortimer or his ball for long stretches of time.
Just hanging out in his chair on the kitchen island. Looks like we need to take the recycling out.

Monday, January 21, 2008

Brrrrr

We've heard from several of you lately how cold it is where you live the last few weeks. Western NC even got a few inches of snow! Well, we hate to burst your collective and individual bubbles, but there is a good chance that we are not impressed with your weather. Today the high here was 14 degrees, and a while ago our car told us that it was -1 degrees. Here's the photo to prove it. Some of you may not be impressed by this (particularly those of you in the upper Midwest or Northeast). But geez. One below is one below. Cold enough.

Eli photos will be forthcoming, of course. But we had to put this out there.

Thursday, January 17, 2008

Eli Flies, Reads and Plays

We present for you a random collection of Eli-tivities. He's all kinds of fun these days, and is getting really interested in lots of new things. Here is a selection of what he's been getting into:
First, another shot from the photo shoot with fabulous Auntie Maddie. She took a bunch of shots of Eli and I just playing and hanging out. This is one we call Eli Flying.
One of Eli's new favorite activities is laying on the floor reading. Our current favorites: Is Your Mama A Llama; Yellow Elephant, A Bright Bestiary; and Sheep in a Jeep.

Today we pulled out this play mat for the first time. A little blue bird swings above his head and chirps along with nursery rhymes. Sweet.
Just hangin' on his awesome Selena blanket in his "Decker-Smith and Son Pottery" shirt made by Auntie Kelly.
This is his first time holding two toys. It's now a polished skill. It's trickier though to get both items in the mouth at the same time, but I'm sure he'll master that soon.

video
We leave you with Eli and Dad on the floor exchanging raspberries. Hilarious.

Posted by Mama the Llama

Sunday, January 13, 2008

Seattle Adventures

Eli and I have just returned home from a wonderful visit to my family in Seattle. There he was reunited with his Yaya, my mom, who was present for his birth and for the first 10 days of his life. He also finally met the rest of his aunties, one uncle and some cousins. He formed mutual admiration societies with each of them.

Eli was a fabulous traveler. In the past four weeks he slept through five plane rides, slept in countless beds, pack-and-plays, bassinets, couches, cars, and even on a few tables. He even slept his longest stretch ever (7 hours - yippee). He and I both have come back from our travels more laid back and adaptable. He now is content to hang out and play just about anywhere, and has gotten quite dexterous at toy holding and hand eating, which keeps him endlessly entertained. He has acquired a number of baby accouterments - the excer-saucer, pack-and-play, johnny jump-up, and bouncy chair - and although he enjoys them all tremendously, a blanket with some toys and an adoring adult will do just fine. This is a wonderful change, for a boy who used to only be content in arms.

We arrived home yesterday and reunited with a baby-deprived Dad. We decided since Eli was used to different beds anyway, it was a good night to move him into the fabulous baby nursery and out of our room. It was rocky - up every two hours - but we're trying again tonight and hoping for the best.

Here are some photos from our trip:

Here is a shot of Eli and I with his Yaya (holding him) and two of his aunties, my sisters Michelle (far left) and Madeline (far right). This amazing photo was taken by the lovely and talented Madeline, who is in photography school and has obviously learned a lot, since she was able to get some decent shots of this crew of cut-ups. We had so much fun photo-shooting in her make-shift studio in Michelle's room.

Eli and I got to see Auntie Michelle in action in all her Ballroom Dancing glory. We got to watch rehearsals for the upcoming show she'll be in and Eli made her his dancing partner all week long. He couldn't get enough.

Here Eli is sharing some tummy time with the coolest of the cool - cousin Grifinn!


Yaya's house is super fun. Not only does she have his pack-and-play decorated like a super happening (and diverse) disco, but...She gives him CANDY!!! That's right, Eli enjoyed his first non-MomMade food: a chocolate flavored candy cane. Boy oh boy, was it a hit! She also snuck him some whipped cream at a party celebrating Michelle's highschool graduation (yay Chelle!). Then I gave him a taste of apple in the airport, and a taste of grape today. He licked and like both, very much.

The week was full of firsts, here is a shot of Eli's first meeting with poultry. He saw ducks and chickens at this little shopping village near Yaya's house. At first he was not impressed...But eventually those birds got a chuckle out of him. Friday night we went up to meet Auntie Cheryl, Uncle Brad, Auntie Deidre and Cousins Tim, Lauren, Chandler, and Christian. We had a blast. We had pizza, play a great game I remembered from my childhood and gave Grifinn for Christmas (It's a maze game called the Labyrinth. Totally fun), and got silly playing Guitar Hero II. Here Grifinn and I are rocking out to Sweet Child of Mine. She schooled me.

We had an amazing trip and we already miss all the folks we got to see. Hopefully we'll be making many more visits to NC and WA soon! Love you all!

This is completely unrelated. This is a short video from our birth (totally G-rated). When I talk to people about my labor experience, they always look at me weird because I remember it as being so much fun. Yeah, there was pain, discomfort, and some compromising positions, but mostly it was laughing, good music and a spirit of celebration. I'll have to translate the following video clip, because I'm unintelligible due to the laughing and wincing:

video

Just before he started recording, Eric made a quote from my favorite show (and obsession) Friends. I burst into laughter, in the midst of a big contraction and said:
"That's why I love Eric. He hates friends but he quotes it all the time for me."

And it's true.

Posted by Mama

Monday, January 7, 2008

Eli's First Photo Shoot

While we were visiting Tommy and Selena last week, we took the time to set up a homemade photo studio to take some shots of Eli. Most of the time Tommy is a professional potter, but he's also a professional photographer on the side (you should hire him for your weddings!), and he did a great job of taking some shots of Eli. We think this first one should be in someone's ad campaign.

We know we're biased, but....seriously, this is one cute kid.












Saturday, January 5, 2008

Holding The Baby

We're back from our epic NC travels, and now Jessa and Eli have already shuffled off to the Northwest to see still more family and friends. Don't worry, though, there is plenty of blog material to last the week.

We got the idea for this entry from scrolling through the many photos we took while in North Carolina. We were stunned at the sheer number of people who wanted to hold Eli. We thought it would be a neat idea to post all the pictures of people holding him. This is by no means an exhaustive collection; there were a few cases where the photo we took was of too bad quality to post (sorry, Dennis) or we just didn't happen to catch a photo of someone while they were holding Eli (countless people). But here are the ones we do have:

This is Eli and his great-great-aunt Mozelle on Christmas day.
Eli and his great-grandmother, who shall be called Moo (a contraction of "Grandma Lou").
Great-great-aunt JoAnne holding Eli on Christmas.
Great-grandfather takes a turn feeding Eli.
This is our friend Natalie, holding Eli at a get-together in Asheville.
Our friend Debra, ditto the above.
This is Eli's friend Laura, who is going to teach Eli how to run fartleks someday.
Eli and his buddy Jake.
This is T, whose babies are all grown up, holding Eli. This is the anaesthesiologist who encouraged us to consider an epidural. Smart man.
Kim is an old friend (Eric and Kim traveled to Cuba together in the late 90s). This was taken at the Early Girl Eatery, and just seeing this photo makes me want a biscuit.
This is Tommy holding Eli. Later that day, Eli would dramatically poop all over Tommy, but we failed to capture a photo of that, unfortunately.
Selena holding Eli at the Early Girl.
Eli's great-grandma Smith holding him.
Eli's second cousin Amanda taking her turn. She has lots of practice from her own 3 children.
Great uncle Jimmy taking Eli on a tour of the living room.
Christa and Eli go way back...she came to visit soon after he was born. She knows what she's doing; she has twin 5-year-old boys.
Eli's second cousin Andy. We told him the ladies would love this shot. Ladies, your move.
Great-uncle Bob in Rutherfordton.
Great-aunt Sharon, also in Rutherfordton.
Eli's great-grandmother on the Vassy side (Nan) in Shelby.
Great-grandfather Vassy (Pop), no doubt telling Eli a joke.
Eli already got called into the minister's office. Here's newly-minted District Superintendent Ashley hanging with Eli in her Asheville office.

Eli and his friend Melinda at the Calypso Cafe in Nashville on the way to NC. They got along great.

Eli and The Reverend Kara K. at Chili's in Cookeville, TN, where Jessa had put together a small surprise 30th birthday celebration.

Our Divinity School friend Will was a pro at calming Eli down.

Like I said, we probably missed half of the shots of people holding Eli, but this will give folks a sense of just how many people Eli got to meet. And he didn't even get sick! (Knocking on wood as I type....).