Saturday, December 8, 2012

Early December 2012

I don't have pictures, but want to record a few memories from the past two weeks:

1.  Leo had his tonsils "shaved," his adenoids removed, and tubs put in his ears this week.  How grateful I am for modern medicine.  How the Ellis-male gene pool made it through evolution is a little unclear to me:  we are all born with gian tonsils, huge adenoids, and ears that don't drain fluids.  I've very happy for Leo that will hopefully be able to hear better, sleep better, and get sick less often as a result of these procedures.  Already he's talking more and more clearly.  It's pretty remarkable.  (It reminds me of when Max had his tonsils out and what a difference it made for his life also.)  We're very blessed.

2.  I worked from home yesterday to be close to Leo and to help Kristin a little while she prepared for her first quasi-catering gig.  It was excellent to be at home so much and see the kids when (a) they're not waking up and getting ready for school (their 2nd-least favorite time of day) or (b) getting in pijamas and getting ready for bed (their least favorite time of day).  They were -- not surprisingly -- so much happier and better-natured during the day.  They made jokes, smiled easily, were helpful around the house, and pleasures to be around.  It made me grateful for the home environment Kristin has created where our kids are happy and well-adjusted.

3.  Max in particular has been a huge help around the house.  He's been cleaning more, offering to help Kristin take things up or downstairs, and he's just been wonderful.  It reminds me that little acts of kindness make the hugest of differences in people's lives.

4.  Max spent the night at Aunt Shauri and Uncle James' house the other night, and our home felt just a little bit empty (and a LOT quieter).  When Aviva woke up the next day she came to our room and said, "I miss Max."  We all did. 

5.  I recently went in to the kids room to kiss them good night and Aivva was already asleep.  I asked Max why he was still awake and he said, "I was just thinking about space and how it never ends.  I don't get it.  How can something never end.  It's keeping me awake trying to figure it out."  I remember being his age and thinking the same thing.  I told him so.  I told him I've been trying to figure it out for 30 years and so far no luck.  I told him instead I think about something else before bed, something I like.  We decided he might fall asleep better and more quickly if he thought about pokemon or Jack and Annie books instead of space. 

6.  When Max was gone, Aviva really talked a lot.  She really relished the opportunity to talk without interruption, and loved the attention.  It was fun to hear more from her.

Wednesday, November 28, 2012

Miscellaneous Pictures from the last 18 months

It has been a while, and rather than try to rehash everything that has happened in the last 18 months, I'll let a few pictures guide our family's history.  More to follow hopefully in the next little while.

1.  Leo's dancing:  for many, many months Leo's only form of entertainment was watching the Wii dance routine to "Jump On It" on youtube.  Over and over and over.  He was actually pretty good, and his stamina was impressive (often besting adults).  His dancing moves are unique.  And they make all of us happy.  Here are a few dance videos.


I think this compares favorably with Max and Aviva dancing on stage from a while ago:

2.  Halloween photos.  These are actually from 2011.  I'll have to see if Kristin can send me Halloween photos from 2012.  But I love these pictures.  Good work, Kris, on costuming the children:

3.  We went to DisneyWorld earlier this year.  Great vacation.  I haven't been that tired since I was a missionary.  It was absolutely exhausting.  Lots of walking, lots of carrying Leo (even though we had a stroller), lots of crappy, unhealthy food.  But still, it was awesome.  A few things I loved about it:  (a)  Leo spontaneously chanting "Disneyworld, Disneyworld, Disneyworld" whenever we were driving or on the bus to the parks;  (b)  Max in perfect glee going on the water rides (splash mountain, or the many wet rides at Universal Studios);  (c)  Aviva loving the different characters and telling Kristin about one of the princesses who showed extra attention "I love her";  (d) Leo being spooked on almost every ride, except for the Winnie the Pooh ride, where he simply said "Again" at the very end [that was the only ride to get the Leo seal of approval!]; (e) Grandma being upset about being so wet after splash mountain; (f) Aviva never wanting to go on splash mountain again, and perhaps never trusting dad again; (g) feelling like Disneyworld represents the best and worst about capitalism; (h) Max never once sitting in the stroller until Thursday (we got there on Monday), and doing a whole day at Universal Studios without stopping; (i) riding the Harry Potter ride at Universal Studios and having all of the good memories of Harry Potter crystalized in that one good ride [seeing the castle, seeing Max and Aviva talk about the castle, hearing Leo say over and over again "Harry Potter"]; and (j) thinking, I'm really glad we won't have to do this again at least for five more years.

I didn't get as many pictures, but here are a few:

4.  The kids biking.  You should see these kids bike.  Max and Aviva both love to bike, and are very good -- although they fly around blind corners way too fast!  It's been fun to see them both grow to be very good bikers and to really enjoy it.  And bless Leo's heart, he keeps up with them the best he can on his little scooter.  He was very excited for his third birthday this week to get a much faster scooter.  We spent almost an hour outside practicing on his new scooter even though his hands were completely red from the cold and he tried to keep one hand in his pocket while pushing his scooter.  If you want to picture what Leo riding a scooter looks like, picture someone taking a piece of wood and standing on it with one foot and slowly pushing with the other foot.  Leo must have legs of steel because he never stops.  He just keeps pushing.  I used to think that Aviva was the most determined person I know (she probably still is), but in the scooter department, Leo gives her a good run for her money.  Here's a picture of the kids playing with some friends after biking.  Sorry no pictures of them biking.  But at least they have a well-done make-believe teepee. 

5.  Birthdays.  We area all a little bit older.  Max turned 7, Aviva 5, Leo 3, me 36 and Kris will turn 35 in December.  I only have one picture of a birthday in my files, and it's mine.  Not sure how that happened.  But we had some good birthday parties this year.  Max really wanted a chuck-e-cheese party, which was disappointing.  But we did it anyway.  And Kris was so disappointed that he didn't want the pirate birthday she had planned for him, that we did the pirate adventure anyway.  For that, we went up to Annapolis, rode around on a boat doing a legit pirate adventure (the kids did all the work, no involvement from the adults), and had lots of fun.  Max had fun for his chuck-e-cheese birthday, but he agreed that the pirate adventure was better.  Leo got the shaft for his party.  We celebrated it just after Thanksgiving and it mostly consisted of that 1 hour out in the cold on his new scooter.  But he loved it, and the cake.  Aviva's birthday was also very cool.  Kristin arranged for Aviva and Max to go have a horse-riding lesson.  Aviva was a natural (althoug a little timid).  She did excellent, and really seemed in her element.  Max had a good time, too, but fell off a couple times (I blame this on the instructor, who purposefully seemed to keep instructing Max to lean over in a way that would make him topple off the horse. I don't think Max liked her, and I don't blame him.).  Here's the picture on my birthday, which was awesome because it was a Saturday and people celebrated me the whole day.  (Thanks, Delsa, for the cake.)

6.  Playing together.  Our kids do a really great job playing together.  Some of their favorite games:  (a) "smacking booty" (I don't know where they learned this game, but -- as the name would suggest -- you run around and smack each other's booty; Leo loves to play this game naked.); (b) "pretend" (where Max and Aviva go around saying things like, "Now pretend that you say ..." and "Now pretend that I do ...."), which usually turns into a fight about what one is and is not allowed to pretend; (c) the Wii princess game (although Aviva is getting more tolerant of playing Max's games), even though I've tried to make DDR and Just Dance part of the rotation, Ellises just aren't good dancers; (d) bike riding (see above); (e) fort building (Kristin realy makes the best forts, and I'm sure this is why they love the game); and (f) blockus.  Sadly, I don't have pictures of any "smacking booty" in action, but here's a picture of them all being happy together. 

7.  Shauri and James.  I don't have any pictures to document it, but our kids love having Shauri and James around.  Max will often say things like, "here's a rock I just know Uncle James would love" or "I wish James was here to go adventuring with us.  He'd love it here."  Aviva loves it when Shauri picks her up from pre-K because it often means ice cream, nail polish, and crafts (even though Aviva will deny that she ever gets treats with Aunt Shauri).  And Shauri is the one who taught Leo how to sleep in a bed.  They just love them so much.