Thursday, October 25, 2007


Having children teaches you a lot of things. That's a stupid thing to say, but it does. I've learned how to remove crusty boogers with one finger and a lick (on my finger, not the boogers). I've learned that macaroni and cheese is the greatest meal ever created. I've learned all sorts of trivial stuff. I just loaded a bunch of pictures onto my computer from our camera and, as I looked over them, I started thinking about how having Eli has changed my understanding of the importance of family. Some of ours is close, some of ours is far away, some of ours is "family" that we're not actually related to. There's a lot of family that Eli will never know. Like the great-great-grandfather he's named after or all but one great-grandparent on his mom's side of the family.
Both Eli's first and middle names are family names. His first name, Eli, comes from his great-great-grandfather Eli Aebig, his fathers, mothers, fathers, father. His middle name, Traxler, is his mother's maiden name. The Traxler name may or may not be carried on to the next generation, but we wanted Eli to know that he's an Aebig and a Petersen, a Traxler and a Smit and all those other last names that came from the generations before.
The first picture will mean more to some of you reading this than to others. We've got pictures in our living room of Eli's dad sitting in that chair when he was a small boy and of Eli's great-grandpa sitting in it as a baby as well.
The second picture was taken this past weekend as Eli helped his dad "fix" things, something that seems to be very familial - Dad's teaching there sons. Eli's tongue is sticking out to the side just like his mothers and his grandpa Traxler's do when they're concentrating on something.
I personally think Eli's got a pretty swell family to grow up knowing.

Monday, October 8, 2007

First Hair Cut.

Eli had his first haircut this evening. The baby mullet was getting a bit out of control. The event was quite an adventure and turned into an experiment to see how fast Papa could chase him and how quickly Mama could snip some hairs without cutting any of the three of us. Eli wasn't too fond of the process. But the mullet is gone and our son is looking very fine, though a bit older than I think he should. The first picture is the prep for the hair cut. The second is Eli once again free to run with his snazzy new look.

Friday, October 5, 2007

More vacation pictures

Of woods and water ... and fences.

I've recently been struggling quite a bit with desiring more of nature in Eli's everyday life. I took a retreat in the woods at the end of August out towards the lake and was really struck by how much I miss the woods and the water being so close all of the time. It's not fair to say that I didn't appreciate what I had growing up, because I certainly recognized the significance of growing up with a lake out the front door and the woods out the back. However, now that I live in the city, which I also love for so many different reasons, and now that I go to the woods or the water just to visit, I'm more and more aware of how much I need those things - of how much they shaped me and are a part of who I am. I want that for Eli - just as much as I want for him to learn to be comfortable with (without losing the appreciating for) diversity, and learn to be in relationship with neighbors when that means laughs shared over the fence and when it means that eight Italian Greyhounds are barking next door half the afternoon. I want for him all the things that the city has to offer him without giving up any of the things the city can't give him.

That's why family vacations and weekend getaways are so important to me. We recently took a vacation to the Smokey Mountains where we camped for a week with Eli. He loved it. In fact, I think he was disappointed to be back home because we weren't playing outside all day every day anymore. Eli learned just how many stones his Fisher Price dump truck could carry - and dump. He learned to throw stones in the river. He learned that the fuzz on fuzzy caterpillars pulls off fairly easily. He learned that some large beetles are squishy and some are not. And I hope he learned that his mom and dad love and respect the outdoors. Well, maybe that's a lot for 15 months, but at least we're starting at it.