Tuesday, December 4, 2012

Happy 3rd Birthday, Eli!


My little man is truly becoming a little man.  It is hard for me to realize how much he is changing when I see him every day.  

Which is why I am SO thankful I randomly decided to do the 'Watch Me Grow' pictures after he was born... because it allows me to take a step back and see this:
Eli 1,2,3

Really? How does this happen?  And how do I make it stop?

I really love the age Eli is at right now... he is fun and funny, he is starting to develop his own (sometimes very strong) opinions, and he is full of personality.

But I equally love that I get to re-experience those baby moments with baby bean due in March.  What a joy!

Monday, October 22, 2012

A God Moment

Throughout Noah's life and in the years since his death, there are many moments that I can point to when I tangibly felt the love of God.  These 'God moments' have become an integral part of our story and are the reason I believe my faith is intact.

In some ways, I consider Eli's entire life as a 'God moment'.  He has brought us immeasurable joy that eases the ache of grief in our hearts.

But yesterday stands out.

We were in Tuscaloosa for the Georgia volleyball match against Alabama.  Eli and I tagged along with the team to see friends and visit our old stomping grounds.  (And watch Georgia sweep Alabama in an awesome match!)

Josh and I took Eli to the cemetery to visit Noah's grave.  It had been a year since we had been there last.

Josh told Eli that we were going to visit Noah, so when we got out of the car he began looking for Noah.  

"Daddy, where is Noah?  I don't see Noah.  Where is he?"

His little toddler brain hasn't quite comprehended his brother's story yet.

I started choking up immediately because Eli has never really said Noah's name before.  There is something about hearing him say his brother's name that melted my heart.

We showed him the marker stone but he quickly became distracted by the flowers and decorations around some of the other graves in the children's garden.

Josh called him back over and asked for him to pray for us.  Eli's standard prayer goes something like this:  
'Thank you Jesus who lives in our hearts and loves us and loves us amen.'  

Yesterday, though, he threw us a curve ball.

His prayer started the same way as usual.  His little voice was steady:
Thank you Jesus who lives in our hearts...

But then he started to sing.
He started to sing a song I had never taught him or heard him sing before.
He sang:
God our Father, God our Father
we give thanks, we give thanks

I don't even really know how he ended the prayer because I was too overwhelmed by the moment.

God had used our sweet, energetic soon-to-be three year old to remind us once again that He loves us.  That He was there with us at Noah's grave.  That He had blessed us more than we could have ever asked for or imagined.

For the record, I think Eli learned that song in his class at Community Bible Study. And I will give each of his teachers a big hug on Thursday morning for that gift.

Saturday, October 6, 2012

A new addition

Not sure if I have any readers left... but if you are still out there, here is the latest news from the Lauer family:

God willing, baby bean will arrive at the end of March.  We couldn't be more excited!

Tuesday, February 7, 2012

Winter in Georgia

Winter in Georgia means lots of puddles to splash in... which makes this little boy very happy to don his new rain boots.


Wednesday, February 1, 2012

New Years in Lakeland, part 3

We may not have indulged in any amusement parks this trip, but we did make a trip to Clearwater Beach on what started out as a beautiful sunny 70 degree day.



Eli loves the water and is at a perfect age to enjoy playing in the sand.


While the day stayed relatively warm, the craziest mist rolled in around mid-morning. It was like being enveloped in a cloud. Which is kind of cool, I suppose, if you aren't trying to soak up the rays on the beach! Keep in mind that this picture is NOT in black and white!


The misty conditions didn't deter Eli from enjoying the water, although he enjoyed pushing his Daddy into the waves first.


And Eli always loves playing with his Pappy... I think the feeling is mutual!



A fantastic day!

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Tuesday, January 31, 2012

New Years in Lakeland, part 2

Josh's parents' new digs in Lakeland put us ridiculously close to every possible amusement park Orlando has to offer.

Disneyworld, Universal Studios, Sea World, Epcot, Legoland... all right down the road.

But even better than all that?

My aunt and uncle live outside Orlando!  I've seen them exactly twice in the last 8 years.  Once at our wedding in 2003 and once at Noah's funeral in 2008.

Needless to say, we skipped all those parks for another time and moseyed over one day to to introduce Eli to his great aunt Barb and his great uncle Richard!


Saturday, January 21, 2012

New Years in Lakeland, part 1

After Christmas, we loaded up the car and headed down to Lakeland, Florida to spend some time with Josh's parents.  I learned two things on this long drive:  
1)  I-75 from Macon, GA to Tampa, FL may be the most boring stretch of interstate in the country.  
2) The iPad is an awesome way to keep a toddler occupied on a long drive.

The weather was gorgeous during our visit and there was an awesome park within walking distance of Josh's parents' apartment.  We wandered over there one morning and let Eli explore.

He first checked out this big cat...


And then did a little digging in the sand pit...

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We blew some bubbles and Eli chased them... 


It was originally a little too chilly for Eli to play in the fountains, but as it warmed up it was tough for Eli to resist the call of the water.  


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I don't remember if Eli was crying in this picture because he was cold or if he was mad that he had to stop playing in the water.  Either way, I thought he looked pretty cute bundled up in my sweatshirt!


Monday, January 16, 2012

What I'm reading...

On the nightstand:

Her Mother's Hope and Her Daughter's Dream  by Francine Rivers


Making the 'Terrible Twos' Terrific!  by John Rosemond
Bringing up Boys by James Dobson
The Young Man and the Sea by Rodman Philbrick

What are you reading?

Friday, January 13, 2012

A conversation with Eli: morning wake-up

We have this conversation almost every morning while Eli is still laying in his crib.

Me:  'Goodmorning Eli!'

E:  'Daddy?'

Me:  'He's in the shower?'

E:  Ta-ta.  (Thomas the Train)

Me:  Your Thomas is downstairs on your train track.

E:  Ka-chow.  (Lightning McQueen)

Me:  He's downstairs too.

E:  Bobby.  (Bob the Builder)

Me:  No, we are not going to watch Bob the Builder right now.

Wednesday, January 11, 2012

Our first Christmas in Georgia

It was a very quiet Christmas around the Lauer house.

For the first time in years, we didn't travel to visit family over the holiday.  Eli is just getting to the age where he understands presents and the fun of opening them, so we relished the opportunity to watch him open his presents in our own house.

I was the first to wake up and had to wait until after 9am (!) before anyone joined me downstairs.

And I discovered that the present opening process with a two-year old prevents bunches of pictures from being taken.

None of Eli opening his presents but some of the aftermath...

This little guy was easily Eli's favorite present of the morning.  Thomas, or 'Ta-Ta' as Eli calls him, was carried around for a least the next three days.  I can't say that I am the biggest fan of the Thomas cartoons, or the cost of ANY of the official Thomas merchandise, but Eli sure does love this train.

We ended the day with some delicious filets cooked in a cast iron skillet and brown butter noodles.  Yum!

I dropped botany twice but I enjoy a good botanical garden...

My mom joined us for a week in mid-December while my dad traveled hither and yon doing his consulting work... 'yon' this time meant Brazil and my mom figured it would be more fun to hang out with Eli rather than stay home alone!  He is pretty cute company, I have to admit.

While she was here, we decided to check out the Georgia State Botanical Gardens located on the outskirts of Athens.  Perhaps not the most colorful time to visit the gardens, but we enjoyed the grounds and the fresh air.  And it is always fun to find free places to take Eli to explore.

There were a few plants in bloom... 

but mostly we just followed Eli around as he wandered the garden paths.

Eli posed for a few picture for Grandma... if you looked closely, you can almost see him saying 'CHEESE!'

Look over there, Grandma!



We were trying so hard to get a good picture of my mom and Eli together... but he was already tired of me aiming my camera at him and asking him to stay still.  What a face!
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Eli taught Grandma a few things about the finer points of botany (I think, remember I dropped that class twice!)

The biggest excitement of the outing was the discovery of this little guy...

... and a daddy longlegs that Grandma and Eli watched until it disappeared out of sight!