{Elijah James - 2 Years Old}

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Elijah James, You are 2 years old!


You continue to grow in leaps and bounds. You are extremely observant of the world around you. You are constantly making observations and you love narrating what is happening around you. Each morning when Mama wakes you up, you will say "Mama here, Papa at work," you comment on the lights that papa fixed, you let us know if lights are on or off, if the heater is on or off, or if the washer is on or off. You also love telling us when we open or close the microwave. It seems that you are working hard to understand the world around you.

Elijah, you have quite the memory. You have memorized your favorite books and can tell us the story as we go through the book with you. Your favorite books include: Chicka Chicka Boom Boom (which for a while you were calling Chicken Boom Boom), Every One Poops, Bedtime for Tad, Goodnight Gorilla, and Polar Bear Polar Bear. You have memorized the words to the Lord's Prayer and you say it with Papa each night. You have also memorized the words to songs like: Jesus Loves Me, I love you Lord, and It is Well. It seems that if you hear something more than once on a regular basis you will have it down in no time. You even like listening to Taylor Swift's 1989 album and can sing along with a couple of songs.

As your independence has grown and increased you are very fierce about what you can do and what you do not want us to do for you. You like to zip up your own PJ's, throw away your diapers, turn on and shut off your sound machine, put your dirty clothes in your hamper, turn lights on and off, wash your hands at the sink, open and close doors, push the buttons to make coffee, throw things away, open and close the garage, dump your pee from the little potty into the toilet and flush, feed Charlie, put on your hat when we go outside, climb into your high chair, and buckle yourself in. If you feel that we're doing something that you can do then you will throw a very large tantrum. You take your job as helper and your independence very seriously!



At the end of January you transitioned from you crib to a toddler bed. Mama and Papa were nervous about what this could mean at night time. Would you try getting out of your bed or would you be up and playing at weird times during the night? It turns out we had nothing to worry about. You seem to love your big boy bed. You especially love that you now have a pillow to sleep with and you get to pick a lovey.

Elijah you began potty training a couple weeks ago. In some ways it has been harder than we imagined and in other ways you have been so successful. Part of what has worked best is finding what works for you. You do not seem to like having mama and papa ask you or prompt you to use the potty. However, if we set a timer and allow the timer to do the prompting you are more than willing to try using the potty. We've also backed off from the adult potty with a kid’s seat on it and just let you use your little potty. We think you like feeling your feet on the ground. You've been so successful peeing in your little potty that mama now carries one around in a tote bag everywhere we go. You are also slowly getting better at telling us if you have to go potty but you're still working on identifying when you have to go #2.


In December you began transitioning to the Toddler 2 class at daycare and you fully joined the class in January. You really seem to enjoy your new class and all the activities that you are doing. You can name all the kids in your class and you even tell us who uses the potty at school. You enjoy your new teachers, Ms. Vera and Ms. Junny. You have even started practicing your Spanish with Ms. Junny. You can now say "Hola" and "cómo estás." We are working on responding with "bien y tu". Mama and Papa recently had our first Parent-Teacher conference with Ms. Vera.  You are right on track with where you should be developmentally and even a bit ahead in some areas. When papa asked your teacher how the school handles your tantrums (so we can be on the same page) we were told you never throw tantrums at school and that you are a sweet boy. It sounds like you save it all for at home.

Elijah, you are definitely throwing more tantrums at home. Usually it is around you not getting what you want, mama and papa forgetting to let you help with something, if mama and papa do not understand what you are asking for, or if we told you something was going to happen one way and then do something different. You have also had difficulty with transitions when we leave places. If you are not ready to go, you let us know.Tantrums are tough for everyone and we are continuing to try and figure out what works best for you. Often, if you can go for a walk you will calm down. So when you are having a rough time at home sometimes we will walk around the house holding hands and saying high to all your toys. This seems to help calm you down. We have been doing more time-outs but also trying to teach you calm down strategies, like taking deep breaths. Often we will hear you during the day say "Elijah time out" or "Elijah go lay down." Usually you are saying this when you are feeling upset about something and then you will go lay down on the couch for a quick moment.

You also love going for walks outside. When we are out for walks you like to point out every stop sign, every flag, any big trucks that you see, and you even recognize and tell us that intersections are "dangerous". You know the walking route to MOD Pizza which is your favorite restaurant. When we get to the end of the driveway at the beginning of a walk you will try to persuade us to take a left in the direction of MOD. Sometimes there are tears if we do not go left OR if we do not go to MOD. Mama and Papa have to be very clear before we leave the house on whether or not we will be going to MOD. And even then, any deviation is upsetting. For instance, one day you and Papa were out for a walk before meeting our friends Ryan, Sonja and Lucas at MOD. Papa told you that you were going to get MOD and that was all you would talk about on the walk. While out, you tripped and fell and Papa needed to get you home to clean up before lunch. You immediately recognized that you were going home and not to MOD and you became terribly upset.

Elijah, we are so excited to see you transition into being a big brother. We know that it will be difficult at first, but hope that it will not take long for you to acclimate. You already show so much love to baby. When we pray at dinner each night you pray "baby strong and healthy". It's adorable. You give lots of kisses to mama's belly for baby and sometimes you want to help feed baby by putting raisins and water on mama's belly. You are pretty convinced that you're having a baby sister, even though we decided not to find out the gender. We think this is because on your favorite cartoon, Daniel Tigers Neighborhood, Daniel had a baby sister.

These days you can say the alphabet and count from 1-10 (though 8 is always tricky). You continue to practice recognizing your colors, shapes, and you have started working on counting past 10. You enjoy playing with play-doh and markers. You love listening to music and you still ask for Baby Bumblebee, Wheels on the Bus, and Joy Down in My Heart on a regular basis. You also love listening to the Rizers and Tay Tay (Taylor Swift). Recently, you've made it a habit to ask papa to play the guitar for you each night. You love to come over and help strum the chords.

Elijah, you have been in a definite Papa phase. You ask for him in the morning, you look for him during the day and have started saying "mama here, papa work." If Papa is at home you usually want him to read you your stories or help you when you need help. You also ask to see videos of Papa and you will pull down his photo to look at. This past football season you heard papa cheering for the Seahawks a lot and you've started to make that a special phrase between you and him. As soon as Papa walks in the door after work you will yell "Papa Here!" and then immediately chant "Seahawks!" Every evening you enjoy helping papa unpack his work bag. If papa gets home while you are in the middle of eating you will try and tell mama that you are all done because you are eager to help papa put stuff away. Papa's influence carries over into your eating habits as well. Sometimes you'll refuse to eat something we put in front of you, but if we put it on papa's plate and you see papa eating it you will ask for a bite and then gobble it up.

You have had quite a few adventures recently! You have been to the zoo, the aquarium, the open gym at Seattle Gymnastics, and to Seabrook. You also got to enjoy a few snow days at home with mama. You enjoyed being out in the snow and walking, but were not so interested in playing in the snow.


Your play has started to incorporate imagination. For Christmas you were given a play kitchen with different food items and you have loved it! You enjoy pretending to put stuff on your pretend stove. You'll even mix stuff up with your little ladle and then ask mama or papa to taste it. You really enjoy moving your pots and pans and pretend food all around your toy kitchen.

Elijah, sometimes you say and do the funniest things. You enjoy making loud noises and then saying "Too Loud." Or you will tell mama that I am too loud. If mama yawns, you will say "Mama Tired." I told you recently that you were being very unkind to mama because you wouldn't let me sing in the car and you responded with "Elijah very VERY kind to mama." You also repeat what we say when you see things that we have talked about such as: “Stop signs or knives are dangerous". For a while there you were saying "No Way" all the time to everything. You might be moving away from that. Apparently mama responds with mmmmm hmmmm quite a bit because if I do it, you now say "mmmm hmmmm uhhh huhhh." Sometimes you grab my face with both hands on either side and pull me in for a big kiss. Those are my favorite and I will even ask you to grab my face so that you will do it. Recently, you've also started saying "I love you" which of course melts our hearts.

We had a very low key celebration of you turning 2 at home with a cupcake and singing. A few days later you had a very fun Daniel Tiger themed birthday party with all the kiddos that you see and play with on a regular basis.

Elijah, in the next few months we think you are looking forward to your first solo trip with Papa to DC, celebrating Easter, and meeting baby brother or baby sister in May.



Here are some photos and videos from the last few months:




 Decorating your Christmas Tree!
 Playing with the Nativity Set
 Sick day at home with mama
 Going for a walk to get Pizza!
 Snuggling with Charlie
 Not so sure about the snow
 Though you really liked finding a snowman
 You love feeding Charlie every night!
 Checking out the Christmas Lights with Papa

 Decorating a gingerbread house
 Zoo trip! So much to see

 Video chatting with Pop Pop & Grandma on Christmas Day
 Cutting with your new fruit


 Family Walk
 Visiting a new park!

 Checking out the beach at Seabrook
 Annual NYE Trip with the Kaetzel's

 Chasing the sunset
 Saying Hi to the Diver at the Aquarium





 Cooking breakfast for mama

 Snow in February!


 Donuts to celebrate Dominic's 2nd Birthday
A fun Daniel Tiger Birthday Party!















{Advent Activities + Free Download}

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I did not grow up with an Advent Tradition in my home. So a few years ago, when our dear friends the Kaetzel's invited us over to light an Advent candle, read Scripture, and sing songs together, I knew I wanted to start a tradition of our own. I loved the idea of being more intentional with focusing on the birth of Jesus, and also focusing on family during the busy holiday season.


{Elijah James - 21 Months}

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Elijah James, you are 21 Months!

In just three months you have gone from about 15-20 words to having a vocab that we cannot begin to count. You are constantly parroting what you hear around you, whether it is from mama, papa or what you hear at school. You even put together your first three word sentence when mama had gone out one evening. You stood at the baby gate and said "Mama Bye-Bye Park".

In this new season of life you are typically at school for 2-3 days a week and at home with mama the other days. On Thursday mornings, mama has a Bible Study she attends and you enjoy being in a class with your friends Dominic and Evalina. 

At school you enjoy playing with anything that you can stack and build with, the play kitchen, and the climber. You also enjoy making art, doing crafts and playing at the sensory table. And of course whenever you can get outside you are a happy camper.

A silly new development is that you know that we ask Alexa (our Amazon Echo) to play music. You often stand at Alexa and call up to her "Alexa, Alexa". Your favorite songs you like to hear are: The Wheels on the Bus, Baby Bumblebee, Downtown by Macklemore and Happy by Pharrell. Sometimes Alexa lights up when she hears you calling, but you are not quite able to give her a command. You now have your own playlist!

A few weeks after you turned 18 months, mama went to Austin for a long weekend with a friend. You had some extra time with papa while I was gone. One scary moment that we can laugh about now is that when papa was letting Charlie outside to potty - you locked papa out of the house. You flipped that screen door lock and papa had no way back into the house. Mama was on a plane so papa couldn't reach her to get access to the spare key. So, papa called the fire department and they climbed through our second floor window and saved the day!

Elijah you are making the connection with on and off, especially when it comes to light switches. You love to flip them up and down at watch the light come on and off. You will say "light on" or "light off". 

On the days we are home, you definitely miss your papa. You have started pulling photos down and will sit and look at papa and point him out to me. It is so sweet!

You have started enjoying being read to. Your favorite books right now are Brown Bear Brown Bear, Polar Bear Polar Bear, From Head to Toe, Bedtime for Tad and Peekaboo Baby. This has been a fun development and we think that story time at school has helped you find your love of books.

Elijah, you are now very aware of what toys are "yours". You are able to verbalize "mine" and this is very evident if we have a friend over to play. It is very hard for you to not try and take every toy that your friend is playing with. Sharing is definitely a hard concept for you. You seem to do better if it is a neutral space or at a friend's house, because you know those toys are not yours.

You are still our good eater, though not always adventurous. However, once papa is home from work you always asks for bites from his plate or sips of soda water. It makes me laugh that you would not eat certain foods for your own dinner, but now that they are on papa's plate you will try them. You also are feeling very independent because you can climb in and out of your high chair all by yourself. You are even working on buckling yourself in.

We recently introduced you to your first TV Show - Daniel Tiger's Neighborhood. Papa and I laughed because you sat still for 8 whole minutes before you were up and on the move! However, you really seem to enjoy the show and ask for it a lot. We do not watch it often, but it is nice to have as a back up activity. You especially love when any songs are being sung on the show. You are not a fan of when it switches from the cartoon portion to the kids in real life portion. You seem to think the show is over and keep asking for more Daniel.

Elijah, your days have been busy these last three months. You have gone to the park, the zoo, the children's museum, the pumpkin patch, celebrated Halloween as a dragon, enjoyed a harvest meal with your classmates, celebrated Thanksgiving with Friends, and started preparing for Christmas!

In the next few months, we think you are looking forward to spending more time in the Toddler 2 classroom, celebrating Christmas, our annual New Years trip with the Kaetzel's, potty training and celebrating your 2nd birthday!

Here are some photos from your last few months:





 Looking at Papa's Photo!
 Checking out the River Otter at the Zoo

Kissing the goat at the zoo!
 Sharing a bite of your doughnut with your buddy Dominic
 Fun at the Pumpkin Patch





 Halloween as a dragon



Somehow you got the chopsticks to work for you!
Exploring the Christmas decorations at Swanson's



Helping decorate the tree by stacking the ornaments