Wednesday, June 30, 2010

Eli and Ewan together

This morning, Ewan and Eli spent some time together. Eli was very excited to hold his baby brother, so I put Eli on my lap and then Eli and I held Ewan together. Eli said, "When I get older, I'll hold Ewan by myself!" Eli was very sweet about being gentle.

Then Mama read books to Eli and Ewan.

Up until today, Eli has been calling Ewan "baby Patxi" but today he said, "baby Ewan" for the first time. We'll see how long "baby Patxi" lasts. I actually hope Eli sticks with it -- it's a cute brother nickname.

Ewan's first bath

Last night, Ewan got his first bath. Much like his brother Eli, Ewan didn't much like it. He screamed the entire time. Afterwards though, we caught a smile on film!

Tuesday, June 29, 2010


This morning, after not very much sleep, I had a hard time putting Ewan back in his bassinette because he was smiling in his sleep after nursing. These big, open-mouthed smiles. Those were followed my small little twitching smiles and then something like a little laugh. I made Michael get up and look because it was so cute. So far, though, his only smiles are in his sleep. He has yet to have an awake smile. That's OK. At least his dreams are making him happy :)


Eli asks TONS and TONS of questions. Of course, many of them start with "Why?" but lots of them are different.

He'll say: "Hear that noise? What's that noise?"

Today, he said:

"I have a question for you Mama." (That by itself made me laugh!)

"It's about a storm."

"What's a storm?"

When I explained what a storm was, he said, "Where did it go?" Hmm... that stumped me. It stumped me the same way it does when he says, "Right now?" For example, I'll explain what a storm is -- dark clouds cover the sky and it starts to rain and it gets windy -- and Eli will say, "Right now?" Hmmm.....

Monday, June 28, 2010

Being an older brother

Eli is having a bit of trouble adjusting to being one of two children instead of an only child.

He has been giving his Nanna a hard time when she tries to interact with him. He is only sweet with his Mama and Dadda. And he is doing things that he knows he can't do -- throw washcloths in the toilet, for example. The second washcloth he threw in the toilet almost got flushed away too.

But with all of the difficulties, there have been some really sweet moments too. Like when he wants to give the baby high-five. Or when he said "Good night" to the baby and then put one of his very precious blankies in Ewan's bassinet. Or when he runs to get a diaper so I can change the baby. Or how he asks "Why is the baby crying?" when Ewan is screaming.

Today, Mama made a point to have Mama-Eli time: We went to the carousel together. We were only gone for about 45 minutes but it was perfect. Eli loved the carousel -- we rode it 3 times. And afterwards, he said to me, "That was FUN Mama!!!"

Sunday, June 27, 2010

Summertime has arrived!

Summer took a long time to get to Salem this year. For Eli, it arrived just in time to welcome Ewan, and to keep him busy while his parents attend to an infant.

Today, Dadda took Eli to the Fairmount spray park, where Eli had a blast running through the sprinklers, pressing the buttons to get the water started and putting his hands over the top of the water and soaking himself. He taught some older boys the trick of covering the hold with your hands and trying to push the water down. He still ran through the sprinkler when he got home, just as he has several days in a row -- because this boy is a little fish. Even when it is cold, cold water, he wants to jump in.

It seems that Eli is growing up much faster these days. Michael and I don't know if it has something to do with Ewan's birth, our awareness of Eli or his development has simply sped up.

Today, while Michael and Eli and Zula walked to Fairmount Park, Zula wrapped Eli and Michael together in the leash just as Michael was trying to pick up dog poop. Before Michael could say anything, Eli says, "For God's sake!" in just the same way Michael would have said it. He's been saying and doing more and more adult things like that. Hysterical.

Saturday, June 26, 2010


Eli is such a great bargainer lately. He always asks for 1 minute if we need him to do something -- anything really -- other than what he is doing.

Friday night, after Michael and I got home from the hospital, Eli and Michael were preparing dinner. Eli saw the chips and wanted some. Michael said he could have one and then he could have more at dinnertime. Eli thought about that for a second and said, "I need 2."

When Michael asked why, Eli said, "Cuz why, I have 2 hands."

Friday, June 25, 2010

Ewan Barrett Casper

Ewan Barrett Casper came into the world fast and furiously on Wednesday, June 23. We left for the hospital at 8:30-ish, after having two hours of labor. He was born at 10:34 p.m.

He was 8 pounds, 2 ounces and 21 1/2 inches long. He has very little hair on his head, super long fingers and toes and perfectly red lips.

Ewan met his older brother on Thursday. Eli was very gentle, kissed and hugged him and then asked lots of questions:

Did he come out of your belly button? (yes)

Is it June? (we had told him his baby brother was coming in June)

Will he eat my books? (Eli is very concerned about this!)

Does he have teeth? (in relation to the book-eating question)

Does he play with toys? (no) Well, then what does he play with?

He has been very very sweet to his baby brother so far. He very much wanted to hug and kiss him in the hospital. Now that he is home, he wants to sleep with him.

"He could sleep right in here (his crib) with me, Daddy," Eli told Michael tonight.

And he wanted to talk to Michael about the baby before bedtime. He asked if his baby brother could go running with him. Michael said "Maybe. We could put him in a stroller or I could carry him." Eli added: "Or I could hold his hand."

Tuesday, June 22, 2010


Getting Eli to take a nap has gotten harder and harder. He wants to play in his crib forever and then he calls me into his room multiple times before he can actually fall asleep. He clearly still needs a nap because he'll sleep for 2 hours once he falls asleep.

Today was a particularly difficult nap day. I put him down at 2 p.m. and he called me to his room about 4 times. I tried to ignore his yells for "Mama" but they just get louder and louder and he is clearly not giving up!

Finally, after almost 2 hours, I took him out of his crib and told him to play in his room. He did, until he got a stack of books and crawled into my bed with me. I read him two books and then told him I was going to sleep. He thought it was funny to yell "Wake up Wake up!" at me, touch my closed eyelids and put his finger in my mouth, but once I told him to stop, he just lay there, closed his eyes and fell asleep -- for more than 2 hours! It was very sweet to take a nap with my little boy.

In the middle of his nap, he opened his eyes, said "Hi. Hi." to me and rolled over and slept some more. He looked so peaceful and quiet.

Monday, June 21, 2010

Strawberry fields

Today Eli went strawberry picking for the first time. He carried his little pail and did a great job filling it up with red strawberries. He pointed out the green ones and told me, "These are still growing, Mama." And he didn't eat a ton of them until we got back into the car. I was impressed :)

But after dinner, plain fresh strawberries wasn't enough to satisfy this guy. We asked him if he wanted milk or whipped cream on his strawberries and he said, "No. I want chocolate sauce and ice cream." When we told him he couldn't have that, he threw a tantrum and cried for 10 minutes.

After he recovered though, he ate two bowls of fresh strawberries. Plain. Because, "I don't like whipped cream, Mama."

Sunday, June 20, 2010


Eli loves his blankie. It is a small square with a silky side and a soft, fuzzy side and then silky tabs all around it. For awhile he used it mostly to fall asleep, but now he carries it almost everywhere. He wants to sit next to it to eat dinner, have it in his playroom when he plays, and rub it on his face if he gets frustrated or hurt. And he HAS to have it for nap and bedtime.

SO, obviously I can't have only one blankie. I started with 5. I was down to 2 and then ordered 3 more online so I don't have to worry about losing them. The thing is: Eli wants them all at once. When he gets 2 blankies together, he says they are friends and they kiss each other. The other night, blankie was singing 'Twinkle twinkle" to us and the other blankie. I'm having a hard time convincing him that he should only carry one blankie at a time. When I tell him I want to keep blankies clean, he looks at me like I'm crazy. "Why do blankies need to be clean? They are best when they are stinky, Mama!" he seems to be saying.

Saturday, June 19, 2010

Busy busy-ness

Last night Michael read Eli books and then asked Eli if he wanted to just hear a story. Eli's eyes lit up! Michael told him a story about Eli taking a bus to the zoo with his friends. Michael thought it would calm him down and get him ready to sleep. The opposite happened. Eli was so excited, he yelled, "Read it again Daddy!" when it was over.

This morning Eli and I went to the farmers market, bought a ton of produce and pork, got some lunch and watched people walking around the market. Eli saw a little girl about 5 or 6 and asked if he could play with her. Of course I said yes. He was not shy about going up to her and saying hi. With some prompting, he told her his name and asked her name. Then he followed her around the market -- they played in the dirt, hugged trees and went back and forth between two vendors that the girl knew. Eli had a blast and it was really fun to watch him being so social.

When we got home, he wanted to continue the "work" he had started earlier in the morning: building a sidewalk outside (this involves shoveling bucketloads of dirt out of our veggie garden and pouring it onto our existing sidewalk and then pushing it around so it is a big dirty mess! wouldn't girls be much easier?) I convinced him that we should read books, and the one book he insisted on was "Daddy and Me" about a boy who helps his dad build a dog house for their dog, Henry. I guess this morning while I slept in, Eli and Michael worked at the basement toolbench on a garden gate. Eli asked Michael, "When are we making a Heny house?"

Friday, June 18, 2010

Playing by himself

Eli has been playing more and more by himself lately. In the morning, after breakfast, Eli asks to play in his playroom with Zula. He will sometimes stay in there for about 30 minutes, talking to Zula and playing with his toys.

In the backyard, Eli will use his dump truck as a garbage truck and load up grass and leaves and dump them at the "dump." He talks to himself the whole time he does this and it is utterly engrossing to him.

In the bathtub at night, Eli plays all sorts of games. He plays boat basketball, which involves throwing his boat to the other end of the tub and swimming frantically over to get it. He puts soap in his boat and tries to sell soap to the animals sitting on the edge of the tub. He has a fish who drinks lots of water and then sprinkles water out of its fin -- Eli makes up a game about fishy peeing in the tub.

Whew... just in time for a new baby, Eli can amuse himself! YAY!

Thursday, June 17, 2010

A problem solver

There have been a handful of times when we told Eli "No" and instead of throwing a tantrum, he offered a solution that was acceptable. It was quite surprising the first time, and it still throws me for a loop, but I love seeing him problem solve. Of course, I can't remember most of them, but recently, Eli wanted to carry some glass dishes from the dining room table to the kitchen sink. We told him we were worried because if he were to drop them in the sink (which he can barely reach) that they might break.

Eli thought about the dilemma for a minute and then went into the kitchen, moved his set of wooden steps to the sink and came back and told us. He carried his dishes carefully to the steps, walked up them and then gently placed his dishes in the sink.

The very first time he solved a similar dilemma, it was regarding his car seat. I would always pick him up and put him in the seat. He always wanted to climb in himself, but he couldn't maneuver up the step and into the seat himself. One time, he threw a fit when I tried to get him in. I ended up buckling him in through the tantrum but afterwards we talked about it. I told him I was sorry he was frustrated but I needed to help him in his seat. He thought about it for a second and then suggested that I boost him into the car on the other side, and he would walk across the backseat and climb into his car seat. Perfect solution!

Wednesday, June 16, 2010


Eli helps me run errands, especially now before the baby comes. But I didn't realize how confusing that phrase must be to him until today. After going to the farmers market, I said we had to run an errand. Eli asked if we could walk there. I said, "No, it's too far. We have to drive."

In the car, on the way to return something at Toys R Us, Eli asked if we were running an errand. I said "Yes."

He said, "Not running, Mama."

Me: "What?"

Eli: "Not running, Mama. We are driving errands."

Tuesday, June 15, 2010


Eli has been talking a lot lately and sometimes gets so engrossed in what he is saying that I can just sit and listen to his monologues. I usually can't understand all the words, and the phrases don't necessary follow from one to the other. But Eli certainly seems to know what is going on...

Tonight after I got out of the bathtub, Eli kept playing in the tub. He was holding his fish and he started one of his monologues. He was talking about how the fish was thirsty, and then he started splicing in segments of Dr. Seuss' Green Eggs and Ham. He kept saying, "No, Sam I am," and "green eggs and ham" while talking about the fish being thirsty and catching the fish. It was quite amusing.

Monday, June 14, 2010

Cuz why

Eli is in the full-fledged "why" stage. He asks why after just about every statement, joke, question, command, etc. I really didn't think it would hit this early, and it can get quite frustrating. Like our friend Jeremy said, I end up answering Eli's "Why?" with "Because of the explanation I just gave you." Really, trying to preempt a "why" is like trying to get your 2-year-old to wear his rain boots when it is actually raining and wet.

So, part of my dealing with "why" is asking Eli "why." He always starts his explanation with "Cuz why..." It is one of my favorite things to hear him say :) And his explanations are quite funny. When he hit my arm the other day, I asked him sternly, "Why did you hit me?" He said, "Cuz why it's bad." And when I asked him again, he said, "Cuz why it's not good."

Tonight he was helping me peel hard-boiled eggs. He told me he liked the white ones better than the brown ones. I asked "Why?" He said, "Cuz why the white ones are good."

Sunday, June 13, 2010

Directional understanding and playing with islands

Eli either understands his left hand from his right hand or he has been incredibly lucky lately. Today I was clipping some long weeds in the backyard with a clipper. Eli came over and said, "What's in your right hand, Mama?" I couldn't believe he identified that I was holding the clippers in my right hand. He did something similar to Michael a few weeks ago. When we ask him which hand is this (and point to his left hand), he said "My left hand!" SO maybe he just figured it out early and it stuck?

On a totally different subject, I've been wanting to get Eli one of my favorite bath toys as a kid: Gilligan's Island. It is a floating island with a boat and three of the Gilligan Island characters. Of course, it only sells on e-bay for a ridiculous price and I'm not willing to spend that much! But other island bath toys I've seen just don't compare. Fortunately, I'm still pregnant and my belly provides an excellent island. Tonight Eli was pushing his boat around the island, "parking" his boat on the island and launching the boat off the island. It's even better than Gilligan's Island!!!

Saturday, June 12, 2010

A baby brother coming soon!

Eli has been thinking about his baby brother a lot lately.

While walking to the park, Aunt Gail asked me if we were prepared for another baby. Eli overheard, and before I could answer, he said, "Not so much," and shook his head.

Then after dinner, he was pushing the swing in our backyard and he said, "I'm pushing my baby brother!" "My baby brother is swinging!"

While I was changing his diaper before bath, Eli kept giggling. It was a weird giggle that I hadn't heard before. I asked him why he was laughing, and he said "I am so happy that my baby brother is coming!" (not sure if he is predicting the due date as tonight or he just means in the next two weeks)

In the bathtub, he said, "My baby is coming, but she's not born yet." Except in that case, I think he was talking about the baby in his tummy, which he named Zaza.

Wednesday, June 9, 2010


We think Eli has hit the stage where he has nightmares. He wakes in the night sometimes and yells, "No, No, No!"

Tonight, I asked him if he wanted to read the book, "There's a nightmare in my closet" by Mercer Mayer. Eli has always liked that book and thought it was funny. Tonight he said he didn't want to read it: "Too scary," he said. He also said that nightmares try to come in his room at night. I told him that only Mama, Dadda and Zula would go in his room at night. But he said, "Sometimes I hear noises and it's scary."

Tuesday, June 8, 2010

Eli getting bigger

Eli and I had a busy day today. We drove to Corvallis to get a few items for Baby Patxi and then we ended up at a park with a great playground. Eli loved playing in this big sandbox with his garbage truck and excavator. He was shirtless, with his cute sunhat and his baggy sweat pants on, and I thought he looked adorable -- except at the same time, I thought he looked so BIG! I wish I had a photo. But it is amazing to me how sometimes I look at him and it seems like he grew up while I blinked.

And he also said a pretty big-boy thing today. He told me he was "Daddy's son." We use the word "son" with him sometimes but he has never repeated it. Not sure if he knows what it means exactly but he still used it.

Another thing he has been saying lately is: "Daddy is my friend." When I ask him if I am is friend, he says, "NO! You are my mama!" I am kind of hurt by it, but Michael thinks it shows a lack of respect for Daddy to also be a friend. I think it means that Daddy is fun to play with!

Monday, June 7, 2010

Mowing the lawn

In keeping with Eli's desire to do everything we do, he has always wanted to help Dadda mow the lawn. That's hard because Michael is worried about Eli getting hurt. So usually Michael mows the lawn while Eli is asleep or while he sits on the steps and watches.

Today, I got Eli a little plastic lawnmower and he was SUPER excited to mow the lawn with Dadda when Dadda got home from work. Dadda made Eli stay far enough away from the big lawnmower while pushing his little one.

Eli just loved it. At dinner he told Mama, "We like to mow lawns Mama!"

Sunday, June 6, 2010

Patxi and Zaza

About two weeks ago, Eli told me he had a baby in his tummy too. The baby's name? "Zaza," he answered definitively.

So today we took pictures of our babies in our tummies.

Saturday, June 5, 2010

No time

Tonight, as we got our shoes on to go for a walk with Zula, Eli explained why he chose his brown slip-on shoes: "I put these on Mama. I don't have time for other shoes."

Friday, June 4, 2010

All by myself!

Eli wants to do everything by himself. I mean EVERYTHING. Sure, we want him to be a big boy and get his socks on himself, brush his teeth himself and get his shoes on before we walk out the door. But it gets a bit harder when he wants to open his car door himself (impossible, it's too heavy), buckle his own car seat (tricky maneuvers) and stir-fry bok choy in a wok splattering hot oil (obviously).

At the end of today -- a long day of "I'll do it all by myself!" -- I put him in his crib and sang him some songs. He asked for "Wheels on the Bus" and I told him I would sing him a few verses. After 3 verses, I told him goodnight.

Eli rolled over and patted my arm, "I'll sing the rest of it all by myself."

Thursday, June 3, 2010


Eli and I usually take a bath together in the big bathtub upstairs. We play with his animals, boats and Playmobil people. He is usually very animated: splashing, pretending to be a whale (and squirting water from his mouth) or telling a story about what's going on with his animals in the tub. For Eli, getting clean is not the objective of his bath. And Mama has to clean him surreptitiously or I get yelled at: "Don't wash me!"

The past two baths he has been very interested in cleaning though. He wants full control of the soap and the sponge. He washes himself (or at least certain parts of himself) and wants to wash Mama's back. He scrubs and scrubs my back (it must get very dirty during the day!) and then says, "I'm washing the germs off, Mama!" I asked him how many germs there were. He said, definitively: "Five."

Wednesday, June 2, 2010

Getting older

Eli si very much obsessed with getting older and all of the things he will be able to do. Yesterday, he added to his list (which was "cook, drink beer, drink coffee") and he added, "Cut with sharp knife."

Hmmm.... he is definitely tallying up all of the things that he is not allowed/able to do right now :)

Tuesday, June 1, 2010

A special kind of fix-it man

Early this morning, Eli requested quesadillas for dinner. I love a good quesadilla as much as he does, so I obliged.

After naptime, Eli and I went downstairs to prepare dinner. He helped to grate the cheese, cut the onion and garlic, open the cans of beans, chiles and olives, and sprinkle some chili powder in our beef mixture.

When Dadda got home from work, Eli wanted to help him fry up the tortillas in the pan and add the cheese. Eli would pull a tortilla out of the bag, sprinkle cheese on it and then smash the cheese down into a flat hard surface.

Out of nowhere, Eli announced his role in the dinner-making process: "I'm the cheese fix-it man!"

He said it over and over again as he continued his job of smushing cheese into the tortillas.