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!