Tuesday, December 22, 2015

Thomas Update: 4 Months

The last month kind of disappeared on us!  How did you become a four month old?  We've enjoyed your first Thanksgiving, and gearing up for your first Christmas, and I'm not sure where the time has gone.  You've been a great trooper at all of your brothers' Christmas programs and activities, though you're not liking riding in your car-seat as often if it is dark out (during the daytime you are still fine though and fall asleep).  Let's cross our fingers for this big car trip we've got upcoming.
Weight: 15 lbs, 9 oz
Length: 25 1/2 inches, mostly into 6-12 month clothes now, about to switch into size 3 diapers
Feeding:  Still nursing about 6 to 7 times a day.  Starting to pinch a lot more.   
Sleeping:   Same as last month, had a few more all night sessions which I appreciate.  Considering moving you to the crib after Christmas.  Have been figuring out your schedule a little, and you basically will be awake about 1.5-2 hours at a time before taking a nap, which you do at least three times a day or more if you are disturbed frequently.
Communicating:  Being quick to fuss if you don't like a change of scenery (moving from mama's arms to the swing/chair/etc).  Letting us know when you are bored and would like some toys to play with.  You love anything you can get your little fingers into and move around.
 Likes: being upright and near us, which makes your ability to sit in the bumbo now very helpful, playing with toys, your Mam pacifiers or chewing on your hands
Dislikes:  you switch between loving to splash in your bath, and crying through it, sometimes even in the same bath-time
Growth Milestones:  Rolled front to back.  Once.  Tried the doorway jumper recently, and you liked it, and ended up falling asleep in it pretty quickly.
Health:  Good check-up.  No worries (though you are lighter than your brothers were, but I'm not complaining).  Not a fan of four separate shots when they were out of the combination vaccine this time.
And your eyes have yet to turn to brown.  Fingers crossed.

Writing to Santa in Kindergarten

Last week we got to go on base for the lab's annual open house, and they boys were pretty excited to see Santa.  Theo decided to ask for the current library book he has checked out (he desperately wants to be a first grader because they get to check out two library books, and library is one of the highlights of Kindergarten for him).  Elijah stuck with wanting... a train.  What a surprise.  He would like a batter powered one that works again.

I loved how the photos turned out.

Meanwhile, Theodore is becoming quite the little writer, and from what I hear about school, writer's workshop is one of his favorite times.  I encouraged him to write a letter to Santa to see what he could do, and even without his word wall and list of site words to guide him, he did a great job writing this (please excuse all the backward S's and d's).
*For those of you less inclined to decipher the letter, here it is with correct spelling. 
"Dear Santa Claus,
I haven't been perfect, but I have been good.  I would like a girl scout oven.  I would like some candy.  I would like an Ipad.  I will be in Indiana.  From Theodore"

On the last day of school before break, his school actually hosted a "writer's celebration".  I wasn't exactly sure what to expect, but it was a time of singing chants and songs, sharing their writing with us, and leaving school a little early laden with treats and gifts.  It's a genius idea really, to get the parents to come pick up their students a little early from school the last day before break and help them navigate getting everything they have home.  (Add fundraiser pickups of wrapping paper, spirit wear, and poinsettias and I looked a site leaving like a pack-horse with all three boys.)
Displayed on the bulletin board.

After the program, in his snowman hat.
Theodore was proud of several of his "small moment narratives" he shared with me, including: Brian recently getting pulled over by the police and getting a ticket, a based-on-true-life tail of the Delaware earthquake when he was a baby, and a pretty accurate picture of Christmas morning at his Grandma K's house complete with a picture of her tree (with a fireplace on tv) and her staircase.  Surprisingly, watching him learn to write has been even more exciting than watching him become a reader, and I love all the phonetic spelling and trying to figure out what he writes.  Gone are the days of kindergarten we had where we wrote on that special wide ruled large writing paper.  They use advanced writing templates with a checklist for editing at the top. 

Sunday, December 6, 2015

Advent: A Season of Waiting Anxiously

We are already a week into advent, and I'm just now getting a post up.  Last year, I was so on top of this season.  I had weekly calendars for Theodore and all our events lined out neatly in a row.  (See those posts here.)  And while I loved making them (calendars make me happy), this year we've just got so much more going on that I'm taking a more free-flowing planning to the season.  I'm basically putting down unchangable events on the calendar, and then putting sticky notes for everything else I want to do with the boys.  And the boys are leaving many greasy fingerprints on my beautiful wall calendar as they repeatedly count the days until Christmas.  Elijah also made a paper chain in school that he is using to help us count down, and is so serious about ripping one off each day.  So, while they may not line up exactly with each day of advent, these are the Christmas/winter activities we have lined up for this year (and past posts about our favorites, since realistically I'm not going to be getting much more than photos posted this year). 
  1. Hanging of the Greens at Church (Check:  Theo did well, Elijah looked extremely grumpy to be put to work helping carry wreaths and candles during this beautiful service.)
  2. Advent Log at Dinner Time (In progress:  Our boys get so excited to light this and blow it out each night.  Unfortunately, one or more of us have something every single night this week so we're not going to get many family meals in this week.)
  3. Christmas Books @ Bedtime (In progress:  See our books here and here.)
  4. Tiny Tots Concert (Check:  Field trip with Elijah's class, was fun and went will.  He was most excited to see Elmo and Frozen, and still doesn't know who Spongebob is.  I wrote about our first visit here.)
  5. Snowball Fun Run @ School (Check:  It was a beautiful day, and Thomas, Eli, and I enjoyed cheering Theoon.  Theo is still so excited when I volunteer at his school.  His friends pat Eli on the head and like to see him.)
  6. Dumfries Christmas Parade (Check:  Enjoyed handing out a million candy canes with the boys.  Theo had a bit of a wreck, but recovered ok, and Elijah was so cute stopping to get candy canes out of the trunk of his tricycle to hand out.  Thomas slept through the whole thing.)
  7. Getting Our Tree @ Evergreen Acres, Decorating It (Check:  Apparently, this may be our last real tree.  I sneezed so many times as we were at the farm.  Hoping I'm not getting an allergy!)  See more about the farm here.
  8. Chili Potluck at Church (In progress:  As in, the sugar cream pie is in the oven and the puppy chow is cooling on the table.  The only reason this post is getting done is because it takes over an hour to cook this pie, and I couldn't get back to sleep after feeding Thomas so I decided to cook it at 3 AM.)
  9.  Make, decorate, distribute, and swap cookies.  Repeat.
  10. Nutcracker (There is a children's performance of this at a local high school.) 
  11. Preschoolers & Trains (A friend is hosting a train decorating party at her house for Eli this week.)
  12. Mail Letters to Santa
  13. Work Open House (Brian's annual open house at his work.  I've been told there will be gingerbread decorating, and the boys will get to discuss things with Santa.)
  14. Winter Dance (Theo's school is hosting a k-5 dance for families.)
  15. Donate gifts (pjs at school, angel trees, etc.)
  16. Nursing Home with Mops (Spending time with some of the residents there and spreading Christmas cheer.)
  17. Make yearly ornaments with boys.
  18. Christmas Lights in PJs (Driving around the neighborhoods.  My boys are absolutely thrilled by Christmas lights.)
  19. Brian's Work Party (Holiday party with Brian's colleagues.)
  20. Parade of the Magi  (Hoping Elijah will sing a little more than he did for the Thanksgiving program.  This was Theo's performance last year.)
  21.  Zoo Lights (I wrote about our first post, here.  And general zoo information, here.)
  22. Christmas Program at Church (Theo is slated to be a shepherd with a line to say, while Eli is reluctant to be a sheep.  We'll see how this goes.)
  23. Make and mail cards.
  24. Living Nativity (Dec. 11-12, 6:30pm.  Previous year, here.)
  25. DC Trains (Last year's post, here.)  Planning to do this with cousins in a couple weeks.
  26. And finally, go see family!  We will pack the boys up, put on the Polar Express, and head to grandmas' houses where we will do gingerbread houses, see the walkway of the lights, and enjoy celebrating the birth of Jesus!
And believe it or not, this is a pared down list.  I'd love to be able to visit New York City, hit up the D.C. Marketplace, go to a snow and story time at the ice rink, and visit National Harbor's Christmas exhibits, but I don't think we're going to fit those things in this year.  Maybe next year!

Saturday, November 28, 2015

Thanksgiving Momentos/Photos 2015

Between all the pre-school and kindergarten crafts, this year Thanksgiving has been extremely cute.  We started doing a nightly round of what we are thankful for weeks ago, and but it was neat to see what things rose to the top in their school projects.

Eli's tree:  (he says Thomas everytime I ask, even though he was missing from his tree)

Theo's Writing:
"I am thankful for... pezz be cz it is so yu me anb Be cz it is so gud"

Have I mentioned how much I love watching him become a writer! 

At school, Theodore represented Brian's side of the family (his 12th and 13th Great Grandparents were on the Mayflower), while Elijah represented my side of the family (his 4th Great Grandmother was of the Miami tribe).

And Thomas got to wear some fun turkey items that were originally Eli's, but didn't get to enjoy any of the delicacies of Thanksgiving, except maybe a tiny taste of pumpkin that confused him greatly.  He'll have to wait until next year to enjoy some pie.

Tuesday, November 24, 2015

Thomas Update: 3 Months

 It seems like we're finally getting into our groove now.  This last month you've spent some time celebrating Halloween and then mama's birthday, meeting two of your great grandparents, and spending time at Theodore's school activities.  The ladies at the gym love holding you, and you are still quiet as a mouse most church services.  I can't complain at all with how happy you are most of the time, and you give me the best smiles every time you see me indicating you want picked up and cuddled.  I feel like I've held you more often than I held your brothers, but that may be because at this point I was heading back to work after having both of them, but with you I am with you all the time.

Weight: 13 lbs, 10 oz
Length: ?? inches, 3-6 months clothes, though I think many of your brother's old things must have shrunk because some barely fit.  You still seem on the tall side.  We switched to size 2 diapers once we ran out of 1s, and finally started putting you in cloth diapers.
Feeding:  Same as last month, though the hiccoughs seem much less now.  You are incredibly patient, having to sometimes wait on your meals when I'm busy with your brothers. 
Sleeping:  We had our first all night sleep session at about 10 weeks old, and have repeated it several times now.  Most of the nights you wake up around 4:00 though to eat.  You're finally spending more time awake so we can differentiate between naps and awake time, but you still nap three or four times throughout the day depending on our schedule.  Swaddling you is key to a good night's sleep.
Communicating:  As a third born, you're excellent at using smiles to get and keep anyone's attention.  Whenever you coo your brothers like to dictate what they think you are saying.
 Likes: bedtime stories, cuddles, and riding in your stroller
Dislikes:  you still don't like when your brother's get in your personal space, you hate being cold (winter is going to be a bit difficult) and of course you can get hangry just like the rest of your family
 Growth Milestones:  Using your hands much more and huge, immediate smiles.
Health:  You finally got through your first cough, and then developed a new one.  Some saline treatments have helped in clearing up your current cough.

Saturday, October 31, 2015

Not a Doctor (Halloween 2015!)

This year, Elijah was 100% sure he was going to be a train.  No amount of parental persuasion was going to change that (despite the fact that we realized how cumbersome a train could be for a little three year old).  While I was hoping for the three little pigs (maybe next year), coordinating outfits were not to be this year.  Theo, on the other hand, didn't really have a clear idea and vacillated from one costume choice to another.  After a fun visit to the dentist (and seeing his permanent teeth under his baby teeth on the x-rays), he decided on being a dentist and I jumped on board (loved the simplicity factor).  I knew that most people would think he was a doctor/surgeon, but we went with it anyway.  And my third child, became a spider for his first Halloween.  Mostly because it was super easy and Eli has always had a love for spider webs and has recently taken to saying, "Spiders are me friend!"  So, it was just meant to happen.
The train basically came together from two cardboard boxes, an oatmeal container, and lots of duct tape.  Eli was adamant that the train have a snow-catcher on the front, and a smoke stack with lots of smoke.  We used brass fasteners to attach the wheels, and my favorite part was the push light headlight, which was very helpful on this dark Halloween night.

Theo's get-up is simply a set of scrubs we bought on Amazon, accessorized with a doctor tool and toothbrush in his pocket, and his set of x-rays.  While we had also ordered a white coat, it was apparently lost in the mail so he did without.

Thomas's costume included a black onesie, black pants, and 3 pairs of black socks.  I stuffed some filling in them and safety pinned them in place.  So easy, and I can still use everything from his costume once I unhook it all.  I know I wasted the perfect age to make a fun costume using his carrier, but Halloween just came way to fast this year for me to get something else together.  And, he was pretty adorable.  His brothers were so excited to see him as a spider that they actually looked at the camera and smiled simultaneously.

Monday, October 26, 2015

Thomas Update: 2 Months

The second month of your life you got to spend a week on vacation with just mama and dada, and spent the other weeks getting into our fall routine: school drop-offs and pick-ups, church, library story times, MOPS meetings, grocery shopping (or more like getting covered with groceries since there is no room in the cart with your car seat) visits to farms, soccer, and going to the nursery at the rec center. 

Weight: 12 lbs, 6 oz
Length: 24 inches, 0-3 months (getting too tall for newborn), size 1 diapers (about to start cloth)
Feeding:  Still the same, nursing about every 3-4 hours, but often only for 10-15 minutes a time.  Much less frequently than your brothers nursed, which may be why they weighed a lot more than you by this time.  You do eat more in the evenings, and varying amounts at night.  Even less spitting up this month and less hiccoughs (though still a lot of them).
Sleeping:  You are still a pretty sleepy baby.  You will spend some periods of time awake now, mostly in the evening hours when everyone is home with you.  And when awake, you want to be held.  But you will spend some time looking at mobiles in your bed or swing, and laying under your jungle gym, as long as mama is nearby.  Your favorite places to sleep are the car seat/stroller, your rocker, or with mama.  I may have placed you near the running dishwasher or in the bathroom with the vent on to prolong some nap times.  White noise is definitely your friend.  At night you'll go 5 or 6 hours before waking, eat, and go right back to sleep.
Communicating:  You started cooing at us this month, and it's pretty adorable.  You like sticking your tongue out at us and promptly starting giving the best smiles at 6 weeks of age.  You've even given a few smiles to your brothers.
Likes:  You still love your warm baths, going for walks in the stroller (or anytime you get fresh air and sun outside), and cuddling mama.
Dislikes:  tooting, when your brothers get inside your personal space
Growth Milestones:  Holding head up during tummy time, and grasping anything "string-like".
Health:  You avoided the worst of Elijah and I's shared feverish colds, but you did come out with a pretty barking cough.  It is such a sad sound.

Week 5-8.

Wednesday, October 21, 2015

The Old Becomes New: AZ Trip

Brian normally goes to a couple conferences a year, but I normally don't get to go with him.  We have discovered much of the Northeast when we have picked him up after conferences in MA and ME, but I've never spent the whole week with him at a conference.  Until, the perfect opportunity came up.

Brian was able to present a talk at a conference (on microbial electrochemistry) at none other than our joint alma mater, Arizona State University!  So, I tagged along and turned this into a "babymoon" for us, where we had an intense amount of time together for a couple with a newborn.  It was definitely a great way to reconnect with each other in a place we love, and spoil our youngest with mama's undivided attention.

While I normally love our road trips, there was definitely something special to staying at the same hotel (and a nice one at that) for four straight days.  Without a car.  Being able to just enjoy life for a few days without having to cook or clean or pickup after two boys was pretty relaxing in itself.  Doing it in the hot weather of Arizona surrounded by so many of my favorite places made it amazing.  (Though, it was pretty exhausting for Brian, as conferences normally are.  I found it relaxing though.)

Things I forgot about AZ:
1.  It is seriously hot.  By dry heat, we mean that it's the heat that basically sucks all the moisture out of your eyes.  Like when you open an oven door, every time you step outside. I went through about 3 shirts the first day we were there because I was sweating so much.  It was over 100 when we arrived.

2.  There is almost no better sensation than the mist of cold water from a patio mister in aforementioned heat.

3.  I love dining al fresco!  I forgot how much of it AZ has.

But mostly, so many memories came flooding back as soon as we hit campus.  But for everything that was familiar to us, there was something brand new next door.  Lots of large construction projects that we watched for years are now completed: the West 6th skyscrapers, Biodesign Institute, and the light rail (metro) to name a few.  And when walking down Mill Ave we were shocked at how almost all the restaurants and businesses have turned over... only a few we knew (and luckily our favorites) were still in existence (Slices, Rula Bula, Chuckbox, and the Phoenician Cafe are still going, as well as Oreganos, Nellos, Los Olivos, and Four Peaks in other parts of town too).  The hardest decisions on this trip were what restaurants to eat at.  We did get to see a few friends, which was awesome and grounding to see that some things hadn't changed in Tempe (though lots of our friends and colleagues from our time in Arizona have also moved on out of the area).

While Brian was at the conference, I did things I can not normally do with three boys under my care:  like going in the hot tub at sunrise, eating meals at restaurants without play areas at a leisurely pace, visiting the Phoenix Art Museum (which actually had a lot of great things for an infant to look at), having long conversations with my husband, and just rediscovering Tempe and Phoenix on my own.  It gave me so much time to reflect on where I am in life, and where I've been.  I kept thinking how I first set foot in Arizona 12 years ago, and in another 12 years Theodore will be finding his place on a college campus.

Once the conference was over Brian and I had a little time left to head to Scottsdale and up to Sedona together, and I dragged him out of bed at 6am so we could hike A Mountain once more before we flew back East.

We rediscovered how hard it is to take photos with an infant, who can't even be propped up yet due to lack of head control.  But, here are a few of our favorite photos from this fantastic trip.

This used to be my favorite fountain...
but at least the donkey is the same.


Thomas's first National Monument:  Montezuma's Well.

Thomas made two trips up A Mountain.

Now we just can't wait to return with the rest of our boys.

Saturday, September 26, 2015

Thomas Update: 1 Month

So your one month birthday has came and gone, and you are officially five weeks old now!  We have spent a majority of the last month curled up together in my new recliner napping, nursing, and just snuggling.  Some days I have a lot of motivation to get other things done, but lately I've just been trying to focus on soaking you up.  I keep telling myself you may be my last, and I don't want this newborn phase to pass with me worried about cleaning and laundry and cooking.  But since those things need done, I'm trying to be very efficient, and accepting help when offered.

Your brothers still love you as much as the day you came.  They check on you before greeting me when we pick them up at school or the bus stop.  They attend to any needs you may have.  And they frequently wake you up.  Luckily, you can still fall back asleep easily.  It took me about two weeks to start calling you by your name properly... for some reason I just couldn't stop calling you Eli (whom I keep mistakenly calling Theo now).  I am often anxious when out and about with you because I feel like I'm forgetting one of the three of you boys.  Having your brothers both start school this month has made it a very hectic month.  And you got to meet 2 grandmas, 1 grandpa, 2 aunts, 2 cousins, your church family, my MOPS moms, and have been to both of your brother's schools. 

One Month
In terms of monthly growth/milestones:

Weight:  10 pounds 2 ounces (58%-ile)
Length:  22 3/4 inches (94%-ile).  You may be our first long and lean one, we'll have to see.
Size:  I want to keep the newborn things on you forever, but have been moving you into more 0-3 clothes and size 1 diapers once the newborn size ran out.
Feeding:  I have to admit I wasn't looking forward to nursing you, just because it is such a huge commitment and kind of ties me down.  But, we've been blessed by a great nursing relationship.  Compared to your big brothers, you don't nurse nearly as often.  Only every 3-4 hours, going even longer at night.  I even wake you up often when it's time to nurse, rather than waiting on you to fuss.  We are pretty in tune with each other, and it's a pretty beautiful thing.  I have had to pump just a few times when I was too full for you to latch, but that's been the only problem.  You haven't tried taking a bottle yet.  You definitely are a burper, and get uncomfortable if I forget to burp you.
Sleeping:  Like your brothers, your first month was filled with lots of slumber (jaundice will do that to you).  You don't really nap yet, you mainly wake up to eat and then go back to sleep.  You're favorite time to be awake is in the evening when I'm trying to make dinner.  When you're rare awake times come we try to play with you:  reading black and white books, making lots of faces at you, and working on getting you to track.  By the end of your first month we were getting a few smiles from you.  During the day you typically sleep in a lttle rocking sleeper your Aunt Megan brought, and then in your bassinnet/beside me at night.  You've also slept plenty in your car seat and in the evenings in your swing.  Your favorite place to sleep though, is definitely in my arms (I blame you for any typos here).  I've got four different slings/carriers, but I've never been extremely comfortable baby wearing, so we're going to keep trying the different holds out and see which one I find most agreeable to us.
Likes:  Swaddling (though you want your arms out already-I call you "Thomas Packet" when you are all bundled, your dad hates that nickname), warm baths, and being held (luckily your brothers love holding you so mama can take a break sometimes)
Dislikes:  hiccups (so frequent), spitting up (luckily you only do when I let you eat too long), when your brothers swing/rock you too hard, and being cold
Health:  Your brothers brought home lots of coughs the second week of school, and we can't get them to stop sharing their germs with you.  So, you're a bit stuffed up.  And, you still seem to have lingering breastmilk jaundice, but your blood levels were never high enough to need treated.  I think this is part of the reason for your continued sleepiness.

1 Week to 4 Weeks

In other news:
Your eyes are still a beautiful blue.
You have been extremely clean.  Outfits last a full day, very few diaper mishaps, limited spit up-it's amazing! (knock on wood)
You are so similar in look and personality to Elijah, you even mew like a tiny goat like he did.
Your c-section was the easiest for mama to recover from.

Hoping for a great second month to come!  We've got some big plans for October, one of mama's favorite months!

Wednesday, September 16, 2015

Three Year Old Train Birthday Cake

And because my hubby did such a good job with this cake, it is getting it's own post.

We vacillated between a rocket cake and a train cake for a while, but as Elijah was turning increasingly back to trains we decided that would be the birthday cake idea for the year.  And, it was a rough one.  But, eventually my husband turned out this awesome (and tasty) train cake for our three-year-old.

He was pretty excited, and didn't even critique it for missing some features of an engine!!

We planned to go on a train ride for Eli's birthday at a local park again, but had no luck.  It rained on his birthday, and the train broke down right after we got to the park when we tried the following day.  He actually didn't cry over this, but he did cry on his birthday when he had to leave the model train exhibit that was we found set up in the local library as a back-up activity due to the rain.  Granted, he were pretty tired, but it's amazing how much he loves trains.

Elijah Update: #Beingatwoyearold

As you turned three, I didn't even know where to begin with an update.  So much has changed since this time last year when I struggled to drop you off for even an hour or two to go to a meeting or workout at the gym.  You were so attached to me, and barely spoke any words.  So.  Much.  Has.  Changed!

But rather than try and organize this in some kind of cohesive manner, I'm just going to leave it in the snippets that I've jotted down over the last month to remind me of you at three.  Because that's all I can manage with a newborn. One who you are constantly kissing (and coughing on), snuggling (and waking), and taking care of ("Oh No, Thomas made a noise!  Brother is coming!").  

And I'm throwing in a series of silly Instagram photos and a few others from over the year that I tagged #BeingATwoYearOld that will show your progression through the year.  

Looking back the last year has been a busy one for you. It has been full of: enthusiasm, potty training, art projects, visits to museums, love, finding bits of nature, trains, lots of silly hats, enjoying each season as it comes, dinosaurs, lots of sprinkles, rockets, and story times.  I have enjoyed your two-year-old self so much and hope you stay this amazing as a three-year-old.

You snuggle every morning.  You were always the first to say good morning to the baby while he was in my tummy.

I now realize the words you children hear from me, as you've picked many of the phrases up and use them yourself.  You repeatedly ask:  "How many times do me have to tell you?"  Whine: "Me legs hurt, me can't go up the stairs!" (from my c-section recovery and last weeks of being pregnant).  And declare:  "Me not know." (when you really do).  And you delay activities with phrases like:  "Maybe tomorrow", "in a minute," and "just a second."

Outside of fighting with your brother, or copying some of his behaviors, you almost never get in trouble.  And if you do something and we accidentally yell at you, it takes you a very long time to stop crying because you are extremely sensitive to that.

Sometimes you are a train.  Once a grasshopper.  But normally, just ELI or a Big Boy.  When you are these things we must call you that, and only that.  I slipped and called you baby a lot before your brother was born and you did not like it.

Your favorite shape is a heart.  Every time you see one, or make one (like out of your toast triangles in the morning) you say, "This heart says, me love you!"  I can't get enough of it.

You observe and notice so much more than your older brother.  You are always listening even when we think you're not, and you always see what is going on around you (we can't sneak a treat without you expecting a bite).

I was worried about starting pre-school because potty training wasn't happening so much.  Then all the sudden when we went on our three week trip to Indiana you went from 50% there to almost perfect!  We're still working on putting underwear and shorts back on after using the restroom (half the time you come out half nude), but I'll take it.

You introduce yourself to everyone now.  No one quite understands, but you tell everyone you are "Eli Robert (last name)".  I think you speak pretty clearly, but not everyone understands you.  You have recently started stuttering some, which I read is common at your age and you should outgrow it, but I'm a tad bit concerned and get sad watching you struggle.

You are very repetitive.  You will ask the same questions or make the same observations every time we read a book or walk by certain things in the neighborhood.  Some of these include:  pointing out the same spider webs everyday, asking why we cross each bridge we cross, and noticing the ducks that have fallen over in a neighbors yard.

You like to reread "The Very Hungry Caterpillar" and "The Very Busy Spider" often.  You have carried a wasp to me, and let bees land on you.  I think you've got a future in entomology.

You say you want to be an astronaut when you grow up, and you spent a couple months obsessed with rockets.

You're getting obsessed with trains.  Making them out of all the dinner chairs, begging for the "big train book" nightly until we started letting you watch "Locomotive" on DVD daily (we are hogging the library edition, but may need to invest in our own), and pretending the Target cart is one and yelling "all aboard through out the entire store.  If we draw a train, it must have all of the correct features (cow catcher, smoke stack, engineer, etc). 

You like to kill bad guys.  Swords, guns, etc are still a favorite object of yours to draw, make out of legos or smartlinks or imagine.

I was afraid to cut your hair, for fear of it looking more brown than blonde, but the blonde is still holding out.  You shake your head furiously every time I brush your hair.

You want everything big.  Big lemonade!  Big toothpaste Big socks!  And I can't call you baby or little even, you are a BIG boy!

At drive-thrus, you make me put down your window so you can talk to the workers too.

You're still a shorty- 36 inches, 33 pounds.  You actually still fit in a lot of 24 month/2T clothes, but I'm hoping to get them all put away and move you into all 3T soon.

 And finally, a list of some of my favorite words/phrases you used as a two-year old:

"It turned on!"  Translation:  Something is alive.
"Autopilot"  Translation:  The child lock button on the windows in the car.
"Hit it Mama!"  Translation:  Say, "on your mark, get set, go!"
"Sleep Up!"  Translation:  Wake up.
"Unbuckle" or "Uncouple":  Translation:  Letting go when holdings hands with mama.
"These doors are magic!":  Translation:  These are automatics doors.