Tuesday, December 27, 2016

Dear Elijah,

Happiest Birthday to you! (Even though you were throwing up all week) This year definitely flew by and my baby is officially a toddler. Forgive my mush, but I just love my sweet little Eli. Everyone, even strangers we’ve met that day, comment on your happy demeanor and it has been such a blessing in our family. These past few weeks you haven’t been yourself with sickness and who knows what else, but you woke up super happy yesterday and I said a silent prayer of gratitude. I need your smiles in my life!

We’ll find out your height and weight when we go to the doctor, but I feel you have slowed down in growth to an average sized healthy child. Your hair lightened up, but you have a tan complexion, so I call you my California babe. You are a decent eater, and daddy took over the majority of solid feedings since I am a slow eater. However, you gave up baby food a while ago and still prefer nursing at times. Six teeth, and you know how to use those suckers. Not maliciously, but any time your mouth makes contact with anything your first instinct is to bite. I hope we can figure out not to do that!

You’ve started to really love having mama around. You are not as content as you once were having others hold you, but you still do fairly well (especially when I’m not in sight). I love to see you interact with your brother. Despite how rough Joey can be with you, he still the one that gets the biggest laughs out of you and you still follow him around. Your favorite things to do now is play with shoes, books, and cars. The boy life chose me with you and your brother. You like to gather and scatter and regather things, and we have a cute video of you with cans of green beans doing exactly that.

You will sometimes sleep through the night, but for the majority of the time these days you wake up at least once. However, I think it is because you haven’t been feeling well. Our New Year’s Goal for you, sleep through the night! Also, we should probably wean you from a binky and mama’s milk. Those are more for me to work on of course. You are a bit oblivious to these goals I have for you.

You know how to go up and down stairs, slide off the couch, and you can even take a few steps! Walking is right around the corner. My guess is within a month. You are ridiculously wiggly, and church is an adventure with you and your brother. You like to get into everything! We really should have baby-proofed our house by now, but I’m lazy. No words yet, but you are starting to copy certain sounds. You will high-five, wave (if we are lucky), and clap. Maybe when you are in a more copying mood I’ll teach you some sign language.

It is amazing how different you are from your brother. Yet it is so easy to love you both. At times it is difficult to have to share my time and attention with the both of you. Guilt can set in when I think about the times when it was just me and your older brother, and I could give him my full attention. I could not give that to you most of the time. So, thank you for still being our happy, patient little guy. Thank you for helping me become a better person and to let go of less important things. It won’t be easy at times, but I promise I love you so much. We love you so much. Always be that ray of sunshine I need in my life.

Love, Mama

Thursday, December 22, 2016

Wedding in Mesa

A couple of posts coming right up! Last month we had the opportunity to travel to Mesa, AZ for Sam's cousin's wedding. Since Sam is off until end of March, we decided to make a little family vacation out of it. We forgot our fancy camera, but I think it worked out because our photo backup drive recently died and we lost all our Thanksgiving pictures :( 

The drive there wasn't too bad, and I did it by myself, thank you very much. Sam was in charge of entertaining the kids, and he didn't realize how hard it is, haha.

First thing on the list, the Phoenix Zoo. It's a really nice zoo, and since we are members of the Rio Grande zoo, we got in for half price! We pet string rays, boarded a tour train (worth it), went to a 4D theatre featuring a BBC documentary as part of our entry. Now for photos.

 Eli enjoying chocolate pudding.

Joey had to get in the action
The savannah exhibit
Guys, this is in NOVEMBER

Best part in all our opinions: the OPEN squirrel monkey exhibit.
That's right, no fence between us and this monkey.

Farming section
I feel this cow's pain
Lego people made these life size statues with, you guessed it, Legos.
Absolutely incredible how people can make these with Legos
We decided to go for a two room suite at La Quinta, and it was so nice to have that extra space. Our kids tore it up, but we had our room to keep nicer, I guess. Here are the rest of the photos, including the AZ Science Center (pretty cool, but it was field trip day, so very busy).

Eli enjoying our bed
We forgot to take photos of our visit to the AZ Science Center,
so here's one at the very end
Zuppas, how I love thee.
It was worth going out of our way to eat there.
When Sam's parents got into town.
Joey was pretty excited to have Jeep Grandma and Grandpa.
A trip to Costco.
Of course this wasn't the biggest stuffed animal they offer.
The whole reason we came.
Good thing we weren't their photographer because this was all we got.
Congrats Jonny and Emily!!
Sam's mom's new favorite temple in Gilbert.
 It was so nice to see Sam's extended family in Mesa. We had fun at the reception and using the photobooth (don't know where the pictures are, so sorry). Next day Sam decided to drive all the way back, and I entertained Eli with Cheetos and chocolate cookies. Don't judge, it was worth it.

Such a happy boy even after 7 hours strapped in the car. Fun fun little trip!

Thursday, November 24, 2016

11 Months


Standing man::Climbs up and down stairs::Loves shoes and books::Good little eater and loves loves loves graham crackers::Started to wave then claps right after::About 22 lbs::Our happy little guy even when sick or in long car rides::Sleeps through the night, woohoo!::


This kid! I am so so grateful to call him mine. He is so easy going, yet so curious! He is getting closer and closer to walking. This month he stood up on his own in the middle of the floor. If Eli gets a little more confidence, I'm sure he could be walking soon.

His favorite activity is pulling shoes off our shoe rack and books off the shelf. I play pick up with him several times a day, yet he wins every day. Shoes and books always strewn across our floor. We kept working on waving with him, and I think he does it now. Eli uses both hands and waves them, then immediately claps afterward, haha. But he does it when I prompt him, so I think it counts.

We started sleep training this month and went straight for the cry-it-out. It's the fastest, he started sleeping through the night within two days! Why didn't I do this earlier? He will wake up some nights, but doesn't require nursing him back to sleep.

We went on a trip to Mesa, AZ this month and Eli was a champ. He gets restless in the car, but all said and done, he was smiling and laughing at the very end. Eli also has been sick for a long time with a cough and runny nose, but other than those symptoms, you could never tell he was sick. We love our happy guy!

Caught Eli getting under the kitchen sink. Need to childproof now!

So happy and easy going.
All smiles even with other people he doesn't know.

Went to change his diaper and just rolled over in his sleep.
Couldn't resist a naked bum shot.

Tuesday, November 15, 2016

Balloon Fiesta 2016

Hi everyone! It's good to be back bloggin'. I received the assignment to blog about our trip to the Balloon Fiesta this year, so let's get it started!

Not wanting to pay for (or fight for) parking, we decided to bike to the Balloon Fiesta park. But that's a bit far for a family like ours, so we decided to park at the LDS Church Office Building (off of Jefferson) and bike to the Balloon Fiesta Museum, where they were providing complimentary bicycle valet parking. Pretty awesome! We could even leave our things in our little bike trailer so we weren't hauling around all of our biking stuff. That's definitely the way to go the park!

We arrived at the Balloon Fiesta around 6:30am, and knowing that the Health Science Center at UNM was offering free breakfast for students and employees, we scouted it out. I was expecting something small, but they had it all! Pastries, breakfast burritos, muffins, hot chocolate, and the works. Kiley was especially excited for the hot chocolate - we wanted to bring some to the park but forgot all about it before we left. Thank you, UNM!

We then set out to find Kiley's sisters, who were all going to the Balloon Fiesta on the same day (since it was a holiday for APS and a "special shapes" day).

The national anthem started as the first couple balloons rise

More balloons started to go up. We managed to get a photo of the family before the kiddos got too distracted.

Eli was mesmerized by the balloons and fire! What a great kid. Meanwhile...

...Joey found his cousins and became mesmerized by the iPhone.

It was a beautiful morning. However, we were worried that the balloons wouldn't be able to lift off and that the special shapes would be cancelled because a little wind picked up and started taking the balloons away from the landing site. Thankfully, that didn't happen!

The last smile that we got out of this little guy before he passed out. 

Joey was having a blast! The special shapes started to come up, and Joey ran around like a crazy man playing with his cousins. They found this giant butterfly balloon and ran circles around it while they began to inflate it. Little did we know what would soon happen...

The balloon started to inflate faster than any of us had thought would happen, and the cousins were all trapped underneath! 

As you can see, Mason fell victim to the butterfly's wing and was not able to escape until, finally, the balloon was standing upright. We're glad he pulled through.

Like Kiley has mentioned previously, this was the first time for me going to the Balloon Fiesta since I was really little. We have watched it from a distance and all, but it is nothing like being there in person! I took almost 300 photos with our camera, blown away by the amazing balloon designs and variety of things that we saw. Here is a little sampling of the photos I took:

Joey was particularly excited about this one, who he called "Peso" (after his favorite character on the show Octonauts) and "George" (after, you guessed it, Curious George)

My beautiful wife Kiley and her sleepy little boy. He didn't sleep too long before waking to the sound of roaring fire keeping the balloons upright.

It was fitting that the day we were enjoying the Balloon Fiesta together with our little baby, the doctor who delivered Kiley was there (Dr. Komadina) enjoying the Fiesta with his baby (the Stork balloon!).

More fun with the special shapes:

I was a big fan of the Star Wars balloons! (obviously)

Okay, one more family photo so we could get Yoda in the background! Sadly Darth Vader is cut out... But don't blame me. Blame the random person who we got to take our family photo. Plus, this is the only shot they took. Lame... Still, I'm grateful that they got Yoda in there.

Finally, it was time to head back to our bikes. Overall, this was a very nice way to spend our morning during one of my days off. I'm very grateful for Kiley in making our last year in Albuquerque a "tourist year," taking advantage of all the wonderful things that this magical place has to offer. We're going to miss Albuquerque when we leave in the summer!