{Advent Activities + Free Download}


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}


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

{Elijah James - 18 Months}


Elijah James, you are 18 months!

Photo Credit: Wilder Arts Photography

You are healthy and growing well! At your 18 month appointment you weighed 29lbs, 5oz (96th percentile) and you are 33.5 inches tall (84th percentile). Papa and I have been so excited to see your growth these last few months. Your personality shines as your grow in your abilities and interests. 

Your vocabulary continues to expand. Just a few months ago you had only 3 words, now you also say "owl", "ow", "chicken", "Turkey", "Duck", "Papa", "Dom". You have clear sounds for words that you trying to master such as: please, shoes, downtown, barn, apple, banana, cheese, milk, and water. You are also signing "please" and "potty". You can also make a "ruff ruff" sound for a dog and "moo" for a cow. It is becoming clear that you understand quite a bit of what we say to you and can follow short directions.

Your favorite things these days are listening to music, swinging at the park, playing Peek-a-Boo Barn on our phone, and applesauce. Your favorite song is Downtown by Macklemore's & Ryan Lewis. You will stand at our Amazon Echo and yell Downtown multiple times a day. When we play the song you bop your head, stomp your feet, or stand in place and sway to the music. As soon as the song is over, you are asking for it again. You love dancing. Recently, you've started asking to move from one swing to another. You often run straight to the swing when we get to the park and start signing please. You also loving playing a game on our phones called Peek-a-Boo Barn. You ask for it throughout the day and as soon as you get to play it, a big smile comes on your face. Your favorite food is without a doubt applesauce, you ask for it with every meal. You love the songs Row Row Your Boat (which you call "Row Row") and The Itsy Bitsy Spider (which you call "itsy"). When we sing Row Row you often sit on our tummy and ask us to move your arms like you're rowing a boat. You're face lights up and It is adorable.

Tantrums are increasing as we set boundaries. You are often upset when we tell you that we are "all done" with something or when we are done swinging at the park. You typically get upset if another kid shows any interest in a toy you are playing with.

Your sleep has been great. You will sleep around 11-13 hours a night and take one nap during the day. You really settled into a smooth schedule over summer break. You are up between 7 and 8am and you take a nap around 1pm. It has been so nice to have the consistency for planning out our days. When we tell you it is "night night" time you start heading to the stairs. Sometimes you stop and give Charlie a kiss before you head up.

Speaking of Charlie, well you really enjoy "playing" with her. Which really means you terrorize her. You chase her with any toy you can push, you throw your plastic balls at her, you grab at her paws and ears and you give her kisses. Charlie enjoys when you give her treats and throw a tennis ball.

Elijah, you have been a pretty independent kid. You really enjoy finding something to do on your own. However, you have gotten better about asking for help. You do this by signing more and making an "h" sound. You also love helping out any way you can. I typically have you help throw your diapers away, put recycling in our can, or closing the refrigerator door. Papa often has you help load and unload the washing machine and has you put your clothes in the laundry basket each night.

Your last few months have been full of adventure. We traveled out to the East Coast for your cousin Brendan's High School Graduation, you joined mama on a women's retreat, you spent a week with mama in Alaska, and you have had lots of play time at the park and at local water parks. You had an overnight stay with the Kaetzels so mama and papa could celebrate their anniversary and you spent time with friends in Lake Chelan. 

In the next few months we think you are looking forward to seeing your school friends more often and having mama home more during the week.

Here are few photos from the last three months.

 Beach time with Mama in Seabrook

 Enjoying a snack at school
 Being in the swing is your favorite place
 When we were at DC you had the best time hanging at the Zoo with Nora

 You were able to spend some time with Pop Pop & Grandma
 You enjoyed family time at the Park to celebrate Brendan. 
Here you are meeting your cousin Benji!
 You loved your Auntie Pam!
 Papa is silly!
 You had so much fun with your cousin Tessie
 Enjoying a peach you "found" at the grocery store
 Spray Park with Papa
 Park fun
 Time to explore Alaska

 Meeting your Auntie Cody

 Back home and adventuring with mama!
 Water play is awesome on hot days
 Asking for "Itsy"
 Petting animals at Papa's work picnic

 Enjoying the Greenlake Wading Pool
 Golden Gardens!
 Exploring Lake Chelan with Papa
First boat ride (excluding the ferry)