Posted by: Matt and Jenna | April 19, 2011

Signing Off

The time has come.  We have loved having this blog to record the happenings of our family and to tell stories of our sweet boy, but we’ll now be documenting all of our family adventures on our family + photography blog.  We’ll catch you on the flip side!

The Daniels

PS – A huge thanks our friend Erin for our wonderful family photos!

Posted by: Matt and Jenna | April 19, 2011

Eli’s Nursery

Posted by: Matt and Jenna | April 19, 2011

Two Years Old!

Sweet Eli,

You are such a joy and so much fun to be around!  There is so much of you that can’t be described in words on a page, but I’ll do my best!

You are still mister social and speak to almost everyone we pass.  You love your home.  You say, “Bye home” every time we leave.  You love going to church!  When we start talking about going to church and playing with your friends, you always put your hand in the air like you’re worshiping.  I love that you not only equate church to playing with your friends, but you also think of worshiping our Savior!

You are downright obsessed with keys, boats, trucks, and trains.  That’s all there is to it!

You are so easy right now, other than the occasional quick tantrum.  You usually test us with a mini tantrum, but as soon as you realize that it’s not going to get you what you want, you snap out of it in a matter of seconds.  We have only experienced one true meltdown, and it was because you didn’t want to get your shoes on before we left the house when it was 25 degrees outside.  I’m thrilled we’ve only had one of those, because it was quite trying!  You are such a joy and adjust so easily to whatever we’re doing.  We have lived in four different places over the last four months, and you have been such a rockstar through that whole process!  We felt terrible dragging you all over the place, but you acted like you didn’t mind at all!  You love helping, which includes bringing me things, sweeping, fussing at Kelsey, washing dishes, etc.  Although you’re usually making a bigger mess for me to clean up, I love seeing that you have such a servant’s heart!

What you’ve learned…
I can’t keep up anymore!  I have attempted a list of words below, but I just can’t remember all that you say.  You have just hit the benchmark of at least attempting to say whatever we tell you to say.  There are usually a couple of new words that come out of your mouth each day.  You often combine 3-5 words to communicate what you’re trying to say.  This is such a fun time!  We just love watching you learn!  You are also starting to attempt to count, which is so cute!

Signs: please, thank you, sorry, milk, pet, eat, more, run, passy, dip

Says: Momma/Mommy, Dada, Kelsey (tee tee), Eli (yaya), Pops, Nana, Meme, Poppy, Poppa, Mum, Jake, jeep, bye bye, pup, choo choo, truck, tractor, boat, keys, go, no (naaaaw), yes (da), beep, cat, dog, hat, ball, bath, shoes, block, box, fish, eat, outside (ahhhh), up, cheese, hey, baby (bebe), off, on, night night, boot, almond, open, home, stick, moon (mune), mint (meent), Matt, treat, fry, juice, blue, bird, puppy, burp (???), poop (lovely, I know!), snack, shoes, socks, bike, Mum, lake (yike), work (yurk), tree, two, three, nine, happy, Santa (ho ho), horse/cow (grunts for this one, which is so strange.), cat, oats, banana, ducks, nap

There are so many more, but this is all I can think of at the moment!

You love singing happy birthday to people, including Ho Ho.  This one really makes me laugh!  I always suggest singing to Jesus rather than Santa, but apparently singing happy birthday to Santa is more fun for a two year old.  You are incredibly intuitive and can solve any problem that comes your way.  Many people comment on your ability in this area.  It’s usually a comment about you being “capable and wise beyond your years.”

What you eat…
This has become a little tricky, as the homeopathic doctor who is now treating you put you and I both on a gluten free, casein free diet.  That means no wheat and no dairy.  Ugh!  You have been such a champ about this, though.  You’ve adjusted well to rice milk, gluten free bread, and vegan cheese.  mmm.  You and I typically have old fashioned oats with natural peanut butter for breakfast.  You LOVE anything (usually carrots or rice crackers) dipped in humus for a snack.  You actually love any kind of dip.  I’m afraid I taught you that bad habit!  And for dinner you usually eat whatever we’re eating.  We have started eating lots of rice around here over the past couple of months.  Dinner is usually some sort of chicken, rice or sweet potatoes, and some veggies from our organic crop share box.  You love meents (mints), which is pretty hilarious!  You’re the only kid I know who wants to go to Chic-fil-a for the mints.  haha!

How you’ve grown…
Boy oh boy, you have really grown up on us!  You are growing and maturing so fast that we can’t keep up.  You weigh 31 pounds and are 37 inches tall.  Most people guess that you’re 3 years old.  You’re tall, slim, and as strong as an ox, just like your daddy.  You wear a pretty solid 2T, unless the pants are too short, a size 10 shoe, and you just went into a size 5 diaper.  You have been showing signs of being ready to potty train for months, but we have to get your tummy issues straightened out before we can be successful.  You still have your passy at night, but we are going to work on that when we return home after the holidays.  I’m really dreading this!

What our days are like…
Well, you never know!  We always wake up, have our oats, and I usually let you play on your own or watch an episode of Blue’s Clues while I get my day started.  When we’re usually out the door for a jog or a play date.  Once we return, it’s lunch and then nap time (usually 12:30-2:30ish).  When you wake up, you always want to know if Dada is home from work.  I break the news that he’s not but he’ll be home soon.  Then we usually play with your trains, grocery cart, or go outside and play with your bike.  You and I both love to be on the go, so we’re out and about a lot, but we both love coming home to our cozy pj’s and familiar stuff.  Every day is an adventure!  For example, as I was preparing a meal for another family one evening last week, you were quietly playing in the living room, which is connected to the kitchen and not even five feet away.  I thought you were playing with your trains down on the floor, but when I peaked around the island to check in on you after about 2 1/2 minutes, your head was covered in an entire jar of Vaseline!  I mean, your whole head was white!  When I held you in front of the mirror, you grinned from ear to ear.  You were so proud and said it was like Dada’s!  hahahaha!  I’m sure Dada was insulted, but you thought you were just using a little hair goo like Dad.  I couldn’t be mad at you, because you were just so darn proud, and not to mention cute!  That was actually three days ago, and your hair still looks matted and greasy.  Oh, what fun our days are!

Sweet boy, you are just the light of our lives!  Everything is more fun with you.  We just can’t get enough of our Eli!

All My Love,

Posted by: Matt and Jenna | April 19, 2011

First Haircut

Before your first haircut, we went out to Sullivan’s Island to take some pictures of your sweet baby hair.  Dada picked one outfit and mommy picked the other.  Can you guess who picked which one???  I admit that we let your hair get a little too long, but something about that first haircut represented letting my baby grow up.  Your long hair was so sweet and innocent, but your “big boy haircut” is so stinkin’ handsome!

Posted by: Matt and Jenna | April 19, 2011

18 Month Letter


Oh my goodness.  I have no idea how to put the change that has taken place over the past 6 months into words!  You have gone from a baby to a little boy!  If you look at our blog or my journaling from the last 6 months, you will see that you are keeping me quite busy!  The faster you get, the less time I have to write about it!

You are absolutely hilarious!  Your sense of humor is so evident through your funny little antics around the house to the way you interact with strangers.  You seem to have become quite the ladies’ man, as you always search out a cute, older girl to plant a big wet one on wherever we are.  They usually don’t mind, until they realize that your hug that starts out soft and gentle is turning into the never-ending bear hug!  You love hugging other kids in general.  The other child usually responds by crying because you don’t let go until the two of you are on the ground and I come pry your arms out from around him or her!  I love that you are so intent on being affectionate, but I have to admit that it can be quite embarrassing!  You are just the friendliest little thing with anyone and everyone.  You flag random strangers down by waving and saying “Hiiiii, hiiii!” in the sweetest, southern voice I’ve ever heard.  I’m not sure where you picked up that accent!  Whenever we interact with anyone from a waitress to the guy bagging our groceries, you wave, say hi, and then sign “Thank you” over and over until they acknowledge what you’re saying (Or they think you’re blowing them a kiss!).  I love that you have such great manners!

You are so incredibly observant!  Most people who interact with you comment on how observant you are and how you don’t miss a thing.  You really love interacting with other kids, whether it’s kids you know in the nursery or strangers on the playground.  You are super outgoing, unless someone approaches you with boldness.  Then you cuddle into my neck and turn your head away.  I love that you’re outgoing, but I also love when you cling to me and don’t want anyone else!  You’re doing much better about being left in the nursery.  You went through a phase of screaming and crying every time we left you and even crying for awhile after we were gone.  Now you might fuss a little, but we’re told that you always settle in and play a few minutes after we leave.  You’re just so darn adorable, whether you’re crying for us or boldly playing with a group of strangers.  I could just squeeze you to pieces!

What you LOVE to eat…
Love dip, yogurt, grilled cheese, noodles, chic-fil-a

How you’ve grown…
You were 35.5 inches tall and weighed in at 28 lbs. at your 18 month well visit.  You’re pretty much consistently wearing 18-24 months clothing, a size 8/9 shoe, and size 4 diapers.

What our days are like…
Our days have been crazy due to the horrific bout with Serum Sickness.  I don’t even know how to describe how insane and terrible that was for all of us.  Your dada and I wanted to take the pain for you so badly.  Once you were all better, it was back to being outside around the clock!  You and I go to the pool twice a day almost every day!  You’re quite the little fish!

How we love you…
You make your Daddy and I happier than we could have ever imagined being.  You’re more precious than words!  We love you with all of our hearts!


PS – These photos were taken around 19 months.  All of the photos at 18 months were during the time you were sick, and they make our hearts ache.  I thought I would post these of a fun time we had at the park after Jesus made you all better!

Posted by: Matt and Jenna | May 15, 2010

I’ve Done it Again

I. am. so sorry.

I’ve left you hanging again!  What can I say???  It’s wedding season, which means our life is full to the brim of fabulous couples, fun parties, and lots o’ images to process.  On top of that, Eli was put on amoxicillin two weeks ago for his first little ear infection, which resulted in a crazy reaction that was o so ugly.  Serum sickness, to be exact.  Look it up.  The scary thing is when I did a google image search, what I saw on my sweet baby was much worse than anything that popped up.  Now THAT scared me!  He broke out in itchy hives, swelled immensely from head to toe, and his joints were extremely swollen and painful.  I have to say that this experience has been the scariest of my life.  I wanted to trade places with Eli so bad I couldn’t stand it.  I could hardly even get up the courage to look at him.  I practically held him for two days straight in order to comfort him and prevent me from seeing him.  It was horrifying.  But… I don’t want to dwell on the horror.  We serve a mighty God!  After 4 trips to the pediatrician, 2 trips to the MUSC Children’s Hospital, a few panicked phone calls to our good friend Dr. Hand, a week’s worth of steroids, benedryl, and ibuprofin, and prayer from family and friends around the country, our boy is healthy!  We seriously felt all of the prayers that were sent up on our behalf.  I have a feeling that if you are reading this, you were praying for little E.  There’s nothing like family and friends holding you up when you can’t stand on your own.  Matt and I want to say thank you from the bottom of our hearts!

While Eli is healthy and doing really well, he is still struggling with itching and having random breakouts of hives.  Please pray that this sickness would continue to work its way out of his system.  We really believe that the Lord is healing him from the inside out!

We did document each day with pictures for future reference, but they aren’t pleasant and we really want to focus on our healthy boy rather than the evidence of the attack that we feel was straight from the enemy.

All that to say — Things are busy.  We’re navigating new territory with Eli, photography, and balancing life with each day that passes.  And most of all, we’re just plain BUSY!  I’m going to attempt to do minor blogs every few days rather than writing a novel every 5 weeks.  I also need to catch you up on pictures from the happy events of the Daniel family over the last 5 weeks!  So we’ll just focus on that for now.  Enjoy!

Pumped for his first swim lesson!

Looking studly.
Aunt Haley comes to Charleston. Woo hoo!

Loving all of the space to run at Middleton Plantation.

Lovin' mommy.

I'm one lucky duck.

Waiting on the Easter egg hunt to start. Good times!

Finding eggs with Daddy. Oops, that one wasn't boiled long enough! Mmm.

Hi mom!

One healthy, happy boy!

Darn it, I love you, E!

Love. of. my. life.

Mommy, Eli, and Mia (who E is calling "mehhh")

Egg hunt on Daniel Island with Mia.

Loving time outside with his Mia!

Posted by: Matt and Jenna | March 30, 2010

2010 Thus Far—In Pictures

Love this sleepy face.

Love this sweet sleepy face.

Learning to flush the toilet

Learning to flush the toilet...

Hangin' with Georgie

2 peas in a pod

You might know it would snow for the first time in years while Eli had pneumonia. 😦

We'll just bring the snow inside!

Ok, 5 minutes outside. Hurry and snap a few pictures!

Watching Kelsey act a fool.

Stud Muffin

Eli's favorite - teh tee (aka Kelsey)

Booster seat. Woo hoo!

Hi E!

"Is the camera really necessary?" Actually, this is E's "Where did it go?" look. It's so stinkin' cute! As he throws his hands up he shrugs his shoulders and says "Eh?"

That’s it for now!  I’ll update with more pics after the Easter Eggstravaganza at Middleton Plantation this weekend.  Happy Passion Week everyone!!!


PS – If you haven’t seen these cute pics, check them out!

Posted by: Matt and Jenna | March 8, 2010

Cupcakes & Mommy Thoughts

The day before Valentine’s I thought it would be fun to introduce Eli to baking.  Nothing fancy.  Just good ol’ strawberry cake mix from a box.  We did get sorta crafty by dying the frosting pink.  ha!  Anyway… I don’t know how I thought my sweet little fifteen month old would be able to help.  I guess I envisioned me doing each step as I explained them to Eli, who would be sitting quietly in his booster seat.  Riiiight.  As I pulled out the ingredients he was already itching to use his busy little hands.  He wanted to hold the bowl, crack the eggs (probably on the floor), etc.  Right then and there I had a decision to make.  I envisioned the disaster I would have to clean up if I really let him help.  I had been cleaning all day and really didn’t want ANOTHER mess to clean up.  Then I thought of the smile I would more than likely see on my little boy’s face with the dripping spatula in his hand.  What are my priorities here?  Is this whole mom thing about doing what’s convenient?  Or is it about showing my son what life is all about?  I was really convicted on the spot about how many times I choose the cleaner, most convenient option.  So we proceeded.  Eli mixed and ate (before the eggs, of course) while I watched and smiled, interspersed with an occasional cringe at a blob flying across the room.  The consensus is that E loves batter as much as his mommy!

Posted by: Matt and Jenna | February 12, 2010

Sick Boy :(

Let’s see…  Where to begin…

Eli woke up with a runny nose last Wednesday.  He slept poorly for a couple of nights, but other than that all was well and the runny nose seemed to be on the mend.  As of Tuesday morning he was feeling great!  He had a play date with a friend and took a bath with lots and lots of bubbles (see pics below)!  As bedtime approached he acted really sleepy and wanted me to hold him (unusual these days).  He actually fell asleep on my chest with lights and the TV on about an hour before his bedtime!  While this may be normal for some kiddos his age, it’s not for our little wild man.  He will only sleep in a dark room with a sound machine and no action.  At the time I thought it was just because he skipped his afternoon nap.  I was actually THRILLED that he fell asleep so I could hold him for a bit.  I’ve been trying to get a picture of him sleeping for months!  He is such a light sleeper and has only slept in his crib since he was about 4 or 5 months old.  I’ve unsuccessfully attempted sneaking into his room for a picture multiple times, so I was so excited that we had an opportunity to get a few shots of our “baby” with his sweet little eyes closed.  Little did I know I should NOT be excited about this sleepiness.

When I went to get our boy out of his crib Wednesday morning his little body was on fire, and he wouldn’t leave his pup pup and paci in his crib (He usually throws them back into his crib and tells them bye bye with lots of enthusiasm.)  Uh oh.  After his temp reached 104 mid morning, we made an afternoon doctor’s appointment.  The doc listened to his chest and back and was immediately alarmed.  After a negative flu test, a breathing treatment, and a diagnosis of pneumonia, I headed home with my sick sick boy.  If you’ve been around Eli for more than a few minutes you know that he NEVER stops.  Never!  Throughout the day on Wednesday, he slept on me on and off the entire day.  When I say all day, I mean that I had to get dressed with him asleep on my shoulder.  Seriously.  He didn’t walk and wouldn’t stand on his own two feet, which was so scary!  We put him to bed Tuesday night after a dose of antibiotic and just prayed that God would heal him.  One of us was up and down with him the entire night, so I didn’t have very high hopes for what yesterday morning would bring.

I went in to get the little boo, and although he was still snotty and quite warm, he popped up, threw his pup pup and paci, and said “bye bye!”  Yesssss!  He’s baaack!  By mid day yesterday the fever had broken and E was chasing Kelsey around trying to whack her with a roll of wrapping paper.  Woo hoo (Sorry Kels)!  While his left lung still has some healing to do, he’s definitely on the mend.  Thank you Jesus!  Now our biggest challenge is slowing him down enough to get well!

And because every post needs a pic or two…

Enjoying every moment of snuggling before we knew he was sick.

One. Content. Mommy.

Posted by: Matt and Jenna | February 3, 2010

Letter from Mommy – 12 months

I have gone back and forth about whether I should post this or not.  I wrote it the week of Eli’s first birthday but have been hesitant to post it publicly.  Part of me feels that it’s from such an intimate part of my heart that I don’t want to put it out there for the world to read and judge.  But then again, I think this blog is more for Eli than anyone else, and I want these words to be part of his story.  I want him to read these words years down the road and know how deeply his mommy loves him.  So, even though it’s 2 months late, I decided to go with it.  🙂



Wow.  I don’t even know how to communicate exactly how I feel about this big birthday or even close to what I feel for you.  The feelings I have for you and for this FIRST birthday are both overwhelming in very different ways.  It’s 3 am and I can’t sleep because I’m so overwhelmed by the emotion that I know I will feel on Saturday at your party as my heart starts to process what is happening.  I’ve avoided “going there” because every time I’ve tried to get close the tears just come.  Between caring for and playing with you and planning your party I haven’t had the time or emotional endurance to go there.  I actually think that planning a huge, perfect party for you has been my attempt to numb my heart so I don’t have to accept that you’re growing up.  If I can just keep the information in my mind from making its way to my heart then maybe accepting that you aren’t my tiny (ok, you were never tiny!) baby anymore won’t become reality, or at least won’t hurt so bad.  Don’t get me wrong, baby boy.  I’m excited to watch you grow!  I’m thrilled that we’ve come so far over the past year!  It’s just an unexplainable combination of happy and sad that you won’t be able to understand until you become a daddy!

You are such an absolute bundle of joy!  You are teaching me so much about how to share my joy with others, even when I don’t feel like it.  The way you light up with that incredible smile of yours and wave to every single person we pass in the grocery store just melts my heart (and theirs of course!).  You are constantly on the go, running from one thing to the next.  You seem to be so afraid you’re going to miss something.  Some things you currently do… wave to everyone in sight, dance on the tile floor and in the bath tub since your feet make a slapping sound, climb on every piece of furniture in our house, say mama, dada, bye (sounds like buh buh), and hot (ha ha), sign “more” and “all done” (working on please and thank you), give kisses with a big open mouth (mmm), hug Kelsey, toss Kelsey’s toys, roll a ball to us, when we say “wiggle wiggle,” you move your upper body from left to right (so cute!), fight your afternoon naps, and just overall bring so much joy to our lives!

What you eat…
You have 3 solid meals a day with 6 oz. of milk at each and then one 8 oz. night time bottle.  You’ve definitely hit the “picky toddler phase.”  The funny thing is that you don’t reject foods consistently.  You like almost everything at one time or another.  For example, one day you love green peas.  The next day you genuinely gag if I put one near your mouth.  That is the case with most foods.  Although… you will eat just about ANYTHING if we add a touch of BBQ sauce!  This really makes me laugh since your Daddy love BBQ sauce so much!  While it’s extremely frustrating to carefully prepare your food only to have you gag at seeing it half the time, I’m so thankful that you still like those things.  I guess you just have to be in the mood for them?  We aren’t sure.  Some days it seems like you don’t eat a ton of solids, and then the next day you eat two whole tortillas, chopped tomatoes, fajita chicken, onions, squash, and zuccini all in one meal.  It’s amazing!  In the bottle realm, you’ve completely transitioned to whole milk and will take it out of a sippy cup anytime we offer it to you.  You weren’t thrilled with the idea of mixing formula and whole milk, but as soon as we handed you a bottle of straight whole milk, you drank it down in no time.  I guess the transition didn’t have to be as complicated as we were trying to make it.  Way to go buddy!

How you’ve grown…
My how you’ve grown!  At your 12 month well visit, Dr. Graham said that he would have thought he was walking into an 18 month well visit if he didn’t already know you!  You weighed in at 24.5 lbs. (69%) and measured 34 in. long.  For your length, they’ve been telling us that you’re in the 99th percentile since your 2 month visit because you aren’t on the chart!  We have a tough time finding clothes that are long enough for you that don’t swallow you whole.  Hmm–wonder who you get that from?  You wear 18 months in clothes and a size 5 shoe.  You’re growing like a little weed!

How we love you…
This time last year I was having sleepless nights as I sat up waiting for you.  This time last year your daddy and I were praying that you would arrive safely into this world.  This time last year you and I shared the same heartbeat (AMAZING).  You were safe inside my tummy.  I could protect you—keep you from reflux, injections, hard falls, bloody lips, molars, a raw behind 🙂 and all of the other things that have caused your tears over the past year.  Although, as much as you love stretching out and having your own space, I can’t imagine that you were too comfortable in my belly!  Eli, you are such a miracle!  Over the past 12 months you have attained your own heartbeat, your own rhythm (You are my child!), your own personality, your own will, and your own dreams (even if they revolve around getting your hands on a remote or hopping on Kelsey for a ride at this point in time)!  We are so blessed and excited to see how you grow into the person God created you to be over the next year!

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