Tuesday, November 13, 2012

Her name was Sue Ann

Dear Eli,

Now almost two weeks removed from the passing of your great-grandmother, your Paw Paw's mother, I still have not put down my thoughts for you. This letter, unlike the others that I have written for you over the past 14 months may be the most complicated. Years of disagreements and feuds combined with my cloudy memories of her make for a very hard thing to explain, much less write. I will do my best.

Sue Ann (Fadem) Kodner, Born -- March 28, 1930;  Died -- October 26, 2012. Her dad was Joe, your Paw Paw's Paw Paw. I know this is a very clinical way to start out, but that is about how my feeling are partitioned.

When she died I did not know how old she was. What year she was born. I had only seen her once in the last 10+ (give or take) years. Prior to sitting down with her earlier this year I had not said a word to her since 1993. I have not had had a relationship with her since I was 8. 23 wasted years. You did meet her once. You ate her crackers.

Once a long time ago my father was very close with her. Your Mimi once told me it was much like her relationship with me. How that could have stopped? No words.

In retrospect, to me, I feel badly for her. Ultimatums, bullying, and stubbornness defined her life, or at lease her life as seen through my lens. She lived a full life. Died with family by her side. Death brings sadness. This loss brought much worse to me, emptiness.

I was asked if I wanted to be a pallbearer. All of her other grandchildren in attendance were. I declined. Its said that you need at least 6 people to be by your side to help put you to rest. She did. As always I was on the outside looking in.

How did all of this happen? Well here is the short version. Your great-grandfather was cut out of my life after my birth and Sue was put in a hard spot. She continued her relationship with my father, mother, and your Aunt Robin and started a relationship with me until I was around 8. At that point a fork was was come upon. More ultimatums, more hurt feelings. This time two of my three uncles were drawn in. The family went from dysfunctional to fully fractured. After that I had no relationship with her and the majority of my father's family.

I could go on and on about the past and who said what and who did that. The fact is, that it is, what it is. I would rather talked to you about want can be learned from the past. Those that do not understand history are doomed to repeat it, as they say.

Nothing is black and white. What looks dark for us, was a full, maybe complicated and painful at times, joyful life. Family can be a pain, but nothing you can do will stop them from being your family. Part of Sue is in you. She is in me. I will never know how much she influenced you, but I imagine she is responsible for more than her 1/8th share of blood. Forgiveness is about letting go of your pain. It does not make you weak. It does not make wrongs rights, but it lets you move on.  Lastly, I think we can all learn something about time. Life is short. Enjoy every bit of it while you can. Take the high road. Love, respect, and empathy will take you a long way. Hate and pain will only lead you to one place. Loneliness.

I am ending this letter with two addenda. An obituary and eulogy. Maybe other's words will help you to understand where it is you came from. 

I love you more than I could ever write.


Kodner, Sue Ann (nee Fadem) died October 26, 2012. Beloved wife of the late Marvin Kodner for 62 years. Dear daughter of the late Rose and Joe Fadem. Beloved daughter-in-law of the late Pearl and Paul Kodner. Loving mother of Steve (Lanie), Robert (Mary), Gary (Peggy Nehmen), Ricky (Gail Brody) Kodner. Beloved sister and sister in-law of Marilyn (Louis) Diamond, Myron (Gail) Kodner and the late Sylvia (Manuel) Rothberg. Dear grandmother of Joe (Holly) Kodner, Dr. Robin Kodner, Tracy Kodner, Kenton (Emily) Kodner, Rachel Kodner, Oliver Kodner, Paul and Jordan Kodner. Beloved great-grandmother of Emi, Miya and Elias Kodner. Our dear aunt, cousin and friend to so many.

Note: This eulogy was copied from Rabbi Mark Fasman blog hosted on shaarezedek.org. Sitting and listening to him read this was the hardest part of the funeral for me. The story of the death of a woman I did not know. It sounds like she had a nice life, one without my family in it. Everyone lost.

Sue Ann Kodner

Sarah Channah bat Yosef v’Rachel

שרה הנה בת יוסף ורחל

b. March 28, 1930 – St. Louis

d. October 26, 2012 [12:22 p.m.] – St. Louis

4 Cheshvan 5773

Funeral: Brith Sholom Knesset Israel Synagogue

Interment: Beth Hamedrosh Hagodol Cemetery, Ladue

October 29, 2012

[These comments are based on a conversation with Steven (Lanie) Kodner, Gary (Peggy Nehmen) Kodner, Rick (Gail Brody) Kodner, and grandsons, Paul and Jordan Kodner. They are also drawn from a document prepared by Gary Kodner giving a detailed history of his mother’s life.]

[Mourners: Steven Kodner (son), Robert Kodner (son), Gary Kodner (son), Rick Kodner (son), Marilyn Diamond (sister).]

Sue Ann Fadem was born 82 years ago to Joe and Rose (Goldberg) Fadem, on March 28, 1930, just 25 days after the death of her 5-year-old sister, Dorothy. At the time of Sue’s birth, her mother was deeply depressed over the loss of her first-born. So Sue began life living with her Aunt Etta (and Uncle Joe) Morris on Hyland Avenue. After life settled down, they moved back to their home on Wells Avenue. It was a two-flat. Sue’s mother’s parents, Mollie and Max Goldberg, lived upstairs. Her cousins, the Gershbachs, lived next door. So began a lifelong pattern of living next door to relatives.

Four years later, Sue’s younger sister Marilyn was born. Marilyn and her husband, Louis Diamond, survive Sue. Though the sisters lived apart most of their adult lives, they remained close and kept their families close.

In 1935, Sue entered the Arlington School on Burd Avenue. In the fourth grade class was a boy named Marvin Kodner. It isn’t likely that they knew each other then.
In 1939, the family moved to University City – 7408 Stanford, next door to Sue’s Aunt Etta and Uncle Joe Morris. She attended Hanley Junior High School and then University City High School, from which she graduated in June 1947.

Sue’s family was Reform. She attended Sunday school at B’nai El Temple on Union Avenue through her Confirmation in June of 1946. She was also active in the B’nai Brith Girls.

Following graduation from high school, Sue entered Washington University – but left school after one year. It was one of her biggest regrets in life that she had not continued with her higher education.

Sue entered the workforce as a bookkeeper. She worked for Dave Ludwig who had an accounting firm with Al Fine.

Sue remembers meeting Marvin for the first time at her friend Fritzie Miller’s house. In fact, she mistook him for a guy named Mel Sova. It wasn’t until later, at a birthday party of a friend, Jean Sloofman, that she and Marvin were formally introduced.

Gary provided me with a detailed description of the wedding:
Sue and Marvin were a mixed marriage. One coming from an Orthodox upbringing and one from a Reform experience. They were married at The Kingsway Hotel on Kingshighway and Lindell. The rabbi was the head of the Orthodox community, Rabbi Menachem Eichenstein. Hazzan Shore sang at the wedding. The bartender was Joe Stenback. The band was led by Al Simpkins; Selma Kotner made all the baked goods for the wedding but had  an emergency appendectomy and was unable to attend. There were numerous kosher butchers in attendance and approximately 250 family and friends were in attendance.

The hall was dirty and unprepared for the party. They spent the day cleaning the floors and tables so they would be ready. The event was strictly kosher….

[Of course, Marvin was a kosher butcher.]

Sue and Marvin’s first home was at 6431 Clayton Road, across the street from Saint Mary’s Hospital in Clayton. It was a four-flat owned by members of the Kodner family. At the time, Sue was working for her father in their downtown  jewelry store. Marvin was helping to run the Kodner’s kosher meat market with his brother-in-law Manuel and brother Myron. Because of the business, there was always meat in the Kodner home (the children remember saying, “Steak? Again??”)

Sue became a full-time stay-at-home mom in November of 1950 with the birth of the first of her four sons: Steve. Their second son, Robert, was born in May 1952. As the family got larger, the apartment got smaller. Sue and Marvin, along with Marvin’s sister Sylvia and her husband Manuel, bought adjoining lots on Kurt Avenue in Richmond Heights and build houses on those lots. They moved in in April of 1953. (In 1967 they added a room at the back of the house.)

Sue and Marvin lived in that house for 59 years. Their other two sons, Gary and Rick, were born after they moved to Richmond Heights. Between the neighboring Kodner and Rothberg families there were eight kids, one back yard, one garage, one Sukkah, an assortment of animals and pets, and a swing set. It was a place of shared ballgames, parties, holidays, and celebrations. Marvin loved having animals around – over the years, there was a rooster, chickens, ducks, a lamb, dogs, mice, snakes, and turtles.

In 1960 the recently-merged B'rith Sholom – Knesseth Israel congregation built the school wing of their new synagogue – just a couple of blocks away from their home. It was then that the family transferred their membership from Shaare Zedek to BSKI. Sue took a job as synagogue secretary, working for Rabbi Skoff for seventeen years.

Sue and Marvin had a traditional marriage – that is, he was in charge of the business and she ruled over the home. Sue was a caring mother. It was always “kids first” in her life. She was a nurturing mother – a great cook and an enthusiastic knitter and crochet-er (the kids all had comforters and sweaters made by their mother. She taught her sons to cook, to do the dishes, to take out the trash – that is, to be self-sufficient. She disciplined her sons when needed, but mostly provided a buffer between them and their father. They were boys, after all – her greatest challenge was keeping them apart.

It seems to me that Sue’s style of discipline is nicely reflected in a story concerning Steve and curfews. Sue had a curfew; Steve routinely broke it. There were times he would come in late at night, no shoes on, quietly entering the dark house, only to walk right past his mother, who was sitting up waiting for him! One night, Gary heard a tapping on his window – it was Steve, who needed to be let into the house – Sue had not only locked the door – she had put the chain on as well! Sue was very pleased that her sons never had serious problems and that they ended up with good Jewish wives and families.

Sue always lived in a Jewish universe. Even though she had grown up in a Reform home, she embraced Marvin’s traditional Jewish practices. She kept a kosher home. The neighborhood was a Jewish enclave. She worked at the synagogue. She was active in the BSKI Sisterhood, especially in the kitchen. Every Friday night, there was a Shabbat dinner at her house – and there was always extra food available in case there were last-minute guests.

Sue said that she tried four times for a daughter. But it wasn’t until her four sons grew up and married that she finally got her wish. Steve married Lanie Schuchat, Robert married Mary Abrams, Gary married Peggy Nehmen, and Ricky married Gail Brody. And so, Sue embraced each of these women, not as daughters-in-law but as daughters. These daughters say she was the “best example” of a mother-in-law: she accepted each for who they were, she didn’t criticize them, and she gave advice only when asked. Sue always praised her daughters-in-law – and she was never threatened that they were taking her sons away from her.

As much as she enjoyed being a mother, she used to say that if she had known that being a grandmother was so much fun, she’d have done it first! Each of her sons gave her two grandchildren – a total of five grandsons and three granddaughters. Steve and Lanie gave her Joe and Tracy, Robert and Mary gave her Robin and Kenton, Gary and Peggy gave her Rachel and Oliver, and Ricky and Gail gave her twins: Paul and Jordan.

Grandma Sue was always available for babysitting. She would take the grandchildren on trips to the firehouse and to Allen Foods (where they fed the ducks). She took some of them on early morning breakfasts. And she was always at her grandkid’s performances, sports events, and graduations. Paul and Jordan lived with her for their first two years of high school. They said that Sue and Marvin were the only grandparents they ever knew – and that their grandma spoiled them. I suspect that she spoiled all of them.

Three of her grandchildren have partners: Joe is married to Holly, Tracy’s partner is Jered, and Kenton is married to Emily. Two of these couples have given Sue great-grandchildren: Joe and Holly children are Emi (3) and Miya (1). And Kenny and Emily’s son is Eli. These great-grandchildren called her “bubbe” – it was something she had wanted to hear for an entire generation.

Family was always very important for Sue. She was close to her sister Marilyn and her husband Louis, as well as their three children and eleven grandchildren. She was also close to Marvin’s family – older brother Myron (and Gail) used to be a co-owner of the business. They now live in Jacksonville, Florida. And Marvin’s younger sister, Sylvia and her husband, Manuel Rothberg were close personally, professionally (Manuel was the third owner of the kosher meat market), and geographically (they lived next door to each other on Kurt Avenue for decades). As neighbors, Sue was particularly close with their four children as well: Mueriel (Stan Carp), Janet White, Jim (Dana) Rothberg, and Larry Rothberg. Because both of her parents were from large families, Sue had many, many cousins – and she was close with many of them.

When Marvin and his brother and brother-in-law closed the P. Kodner Kosher Meat Market, he took a job working for Allen Foods. And for the first time in his adult life, he had vacations! It was then that Sue and Marvin began their extensive world travels. They started with a trip to Israel in 1972. Subsequently, they traveled to China, Eastern Europe, Scandinavia, Australia, Singapore, New Zealand, and Jamaica. In later years, they started cruising – Alaska, Europe, and Sweden (as her children recall). There were also family trips to visit the kids: Arizona, Florida, San Diego, and Oklahoma were their primary destinations.

Sue was active with Oasis, through which she tutored elementary school students. She loved to play cards – with everyone. For many years, she was in a Canasta group in her neighborhood – the “Kurt Avenue Cats.” She enjoyed gin and solitaire. And she would play any kids’ games with her grandchildren. In her later years, Sue enjoyed crossword and word search puzzles. She also did on-line gambling (but with fake money); she also used real money at the local casinos, where she preferred video poker and slots (her limit was about $20).

When it came to sports, Sue was a devoted Cardinals fan. As a young woman she had played tennis, and she enjoyed watching tennis matches on television. She also enjoyed fishing.

Sue wasn’t a vain woman. But she always had her nails done. And she spent a number of years as a redhead.

Even before Marvin’s passing, fourteen months ago, Joyce Grandberry had become her caregiver and companion. This close relationship continued throughout the last months of her life. For the past eight months, Sue lived at the Barclay House on Brentwood Boulevard. She got to know everyone there, and they got to know her. And the good people at Bethesda Health were there for her at the Barclay House, at their rehab center, and through their hospice program.

Sue’s family describes her as a warm, caring, sensitive, loving and devoted woman. She was honest and very direct (she told it like it was). She was often sarcastic. She was easily upset, but she loved a good joke.

Sue Kodner was a woman devoted to her family, to her Jewish community, to her synagogue. She was a nurturer, serving many people in many ways throughout her 82 years. She had many lifelong friends and never stopped making new friends. She has left this world a better place, through her children and their families, through her extended family and wide circle of friends, and through her synagogue.

Sue’s Hebrew name was Sarah Channah. We just read (on Shabbat morning) the passage in the Book of Genesis that describes Sarah, the wife of Abraham. She was a strong woman, a woman who yearned for family (and who, in this week’s Torah portion, will experience the birth of her son, Isaac). Sarah was the first matriarch of the Jewish people. In many ways, Sue was the matriarch of her family. She had a prodigious memory for family history and she worked hard to keep the family together. Sue has been a blessing. Her legacy is the family and friends she leaves behind whose values and commitments were shaped by her own and who will thus continue to be a blessing in our world.

Death may end life, but it doesn’t end love and it doesn’t end memory. As she did for more than eight decades, Sue Kodner will continue to bring blessing to this world through the loving memories she leaves behind.

Sunday, September 09, 2012

Two and a half is worth an update, no?

We're hardcore into the train phase (and clearly any and all Thomas the Tank Engine merchandise). I must say, Curious George is a much better show.  Eli never takes a hobby/obsession halfway. He wakes up and reaches for one of the trains he had to take with him to bed. Then he gets out of bed and walks over to the tracks on the floor. Before leaving, we have to fit as many of his trains as he can into his backpack. On our walk to the train, he accuses at least half a dozen non-train things of being trains or tracks.

He now sleeps in his bed all by himself all night long. We often have to wake him up on the weekdays. It's glorious.

He's become quite the chatter box which is a big relief. He's most articulate of course when he's informing me of something I need to do or give him. "Mom, no stop that." "More juice, pleeeeease. More juuuuice, please?" He uses his hands/whole body to talk and gets comically expressive when inquiring about the whereabouts of any given object. 

We've really committed to doing at least something fun each weekend. We used to be too caught up in chores, and you know what? Chores do not make memories. Virtually every weekend this summer we either went to the pool or to the beach or on a bike ride. After having all of our bikes stolen last year, we're finally restocked. I got a junker with an awesome bell (which I ring practically non-stop) and Kenny got a family man's bike complete with bike seat.  It's been allowing us to better explore the neighborhoods near us. On my favorite outing thus far, we rode to the Shakespeare in the park (50% of Eli's parents got to watch the play) and then stopped for a banana split on the way back.

In a few days, I am going to DC all by myself! This will be my second night and first real time away from Eli. I'm going to do my best to be particularly irresponsible. I of course have mixed emotions, but Eli will be with his father and Mimi and Paw Paw so he probably won't even know I'm missing.  Kenny went on a man/baseball/road trip a couple of weekends ago. Apparently we've reached that point in our family life where we vacation separately.  Next time Eli stays home and Dada and Mama go somewhere ;-).

Tuesday, June 05, 2012

The man I called Pop

Dear Eli,

Your Daddy is sitting on a bus and he loves you very much. I am on the way back to Chicago after a very long and emotional weekend in St. Louis. The family has just said goodbye to our patriarch, your great-grandfather, and one of the nicest men I have ever known.

I am making this trip by myself as you and your mom left the day after the funeral. I am glad I stayed behind. Family is one of the most important things in life. Never take them for granted.

Your Pop-Pop. my Pop, the man Mimi called Dad loved you very much. Your existence along with his other great-grandchildren gave him the motivation to live his life to the fullest until the end. He recounted just a few weeks ago that he was not ready to leave his great grandkids. It was his time to go. He was 91.

Monte Abrams was born in St. Louis in 1920. He was a big believer in the importance of education. He graduated from Washington University in St. Louis. There was nothing that he did not know a little about. He loved to read — fiction or non-fiction—it did not matter. Over the last week when describing your Pop-Pop to people we would say that he was our Google. Before we had search engines we had our Monte and a phone. He was the smartest man any of us knew.

He was funny too. Not in a joke telling way, but he brought out the best in all of us. My Pop would walk over to me as a boy and “steal my nose” and then flash his megawatt smile. You would get that same smile when you got caught admiring him from afar, but that also was a combined with a wink. His wink and smile I will always carry with me.

The man three called Dad was selfless. After graduating from college, but before getting to marry the love his life he answered the call of war.  He gave two and a half years so that we could live free. This country and all of the gererations that followed were built on the sacrifices of men like Pop-Pop. He never liked to talk about it. I wish I could tell him how prould I was of him.

After he came back from the war he lived the life that all strive for. Married, started a family and went to work in the family business. His life was full of friends that truly loved him. It might be idealized, but I think his life was the great American dream.

Pop meant so many things to so many people. More than just a dad, grandfather or great grandfather, he always knew when he had to fill more than those roles. He was the father Paw-Paw never had. He was more grandfather that Anut Robin and I ever needed. He was a rock in bad time as well as good.

Your Paw-Paw loves to point out how much Pop loved sports. That he was proud to have live to see all 11 World Series won by the Cardinals. He was the truest of fans. He spent most of his life rooting for the then St. Louis football Cardinals, and then the Tampa Bay Buccaneers, two of the most long suffering fan bases ever. Never complaining about it, he keeped watching and rooting. He did finally get his football championship after over 40 years. Think about that for a secound.

My Pop was smaller in stature than the life he lead. Coming it at only 6’3” he was the one we all looked up to.  He gave me my height. I always  hoped to grow as tall, but never made it. We never tired of standing next to each other to see if I had grown. Near the end, long after my growth stopped, and time called for him to shrink we would play this game, but unlike as a kid I never wanted to surpass him. The last time we measured up I cheated a bit. I never straightened my legs. He was my Pop and I will always look up to him.

Along with his smile I can still imagine his hands. Large and strong, able to reach high to get things off the top shelf. Agile and nimble able to fix anything, or so we thought.  They were attached to his strong arms that were good at hugging. I am going to miss them.

If I had one wish, it would be for you to live the kind of life that Pop lived. He died surrounded by a loving family and friends. He had a full life. The words in this letter could never live up to the man. We as his legacy will have to do that. This is a big challenge for such a small boy, but it's one that we must take up. Your Mimi and Paw-Paw will help show you the way. The leseons that my Pop taught me will be passed down to you. Live your life to the fullest, in the end, that what Pop-Pop wanted for you. 



Monroe (Monte) Abrams, died May 31, 2012 at age 91. Beloved husband of Gloria Abrams; dear son of the late Robert and Bertha Abrams; dear father and father-in-law of Jane (Michael) Shook, Thomas Abrams and Mary (Robert) Kodner; dear grandfather of Lisa (Matthew) Steinkamp, Betsy (Chad) DeMarco, Tina Merrill, Erin (Mathew) Sameck, Lauren (Zoey) Engel, Robin and Kenton (Emily) Kodner; dear great-grandfather of Ethan Steinkamp, Sophia and Dax DeMarco, Stella Overstreet, Harrison Sameck, and Elias Kodner; dear brother and brother-in-law of Stanley (Ann) Abrams, the late Robert (late Deedy) Abrams and Steven (Brenda) Burack.

Tuesday, May 29, 2012


We are going to the beach. If one statement will make up our summer, it will be it. When we moved three years ago one of the big things we liked was how close we were to the lake. The last few summers we have not taken advantage of it. This year we will not make that same mistake. By the looks on Eli's face, he will not let us forget. 

I get to play in dirt!
What you doing Dad?
I can't move!
Fort Eli.
And we get ice cream!!!
Bubbles make cleaning up more fun.
Don't need pants.
Lets do this again!

Friday, May 04, 2012


Non-baby post here. I need your help. New glass are a must because this happened:

 Well that happened, because this happened.

Well not in that actual photo, but I can assure you that Eli 1) loves my glasses, and 2) Will find anyway to get his hands on them. Long story short I took a shower, Eli found my glasses and the next thing you know they are only held together by solder and tape.

I am  trying something new this go around. Online glasses. They ship me five pairs. I get to try them on and put them on the blog for you to see. Then you all help me pick with comments.

Thanks for the feedback!

Tuesday, April 17, 2012

Two things

1. Eli has quite wisely started calling Leroy "dog" and Jack "cat."

2. He has also started stashing his food around the place -- careful to put it where the dogs can't reach.  He keeps goldfish in the desk drawer.  Yesterday he hid a bun on top of a window pane and came back for it hours later.  Kenny retrieved part of his bagel from a cabinet in our bedroom this morning.

Wednesday, March 21, 2012

Video of the week: Whats a guy got to do to be picked up?

Last night Eli just did not want Mommy to go to the bathroom. I could have helped, but I thought that video tapping him was worth it.

Wednesday, March 14, 2012

Dear online baby book

I am a mother of a two-year old.  No more counting his age in months, which makes it okay that I'm nearly a month late in posting this.

He loves his routine.  When the alarm goes off in the morning all I have to say is, "Eli, do you want to go watch George and have Cheerios?"  He pops up and points saying, "Door!"  At really any chance he gets he asks for a "bar!  bar!  bar!  bar!"  On days when Kenny works, I wear him (all 27 pounds) to the train.  The train comes and he points and says, "Choo!  Choo!  Chooooooo!"  He says everything with exclamation points.  We get on and he gets upset when strangers talk to him.  We get off after one stop and meet his sitter in a parking lot (because we're classy).  He barely acknowledges that I'm leaving him and is happy as long as Carmen hands him his bag to hold.  If any given step in this routine does not go as expected--if for instance, Daddy drops him off or we're out of Cheerios, he has pretty impressive meltdowns.  Just like his father.

His language is finally exploding.  Something has clicked and he'll pick up a word after only having heard it a few times.  His key words are: bagel, cheese, cheerios, bar, juice, dinosaur, car, bump, choo choo, hat, tree, ball, kite, door, go go go, eat, duck, dog, Ja' (Jack), Dada, Mama, uh oh, George, boat, cat, box, two, shoes, no, yeah, water, hi, thanks.  I'm sure he has a word for Leroy; we just can't make it out.

When I pick him up when he's crying, he pats me on the back just as I pat him on the back.

He's become anti-bath.  Just like his father.  We got some bubble bath which seems to be moderately effective.

It's getting harder to get him to sit still for a book, but he will for his favorites.  I'm really tired of, "Are You My Mother?"

He's not a morning person.  He'll gladly sleep in to some degree and doesn't really want you to talk to him for about an hour or so.  Just like his mother.

He's become quite fond of pajamas.  Likes to pick them out and hates to take them off to change into day clothes.  Just like his mother.

He's become more child-like and less wild-animal-like when it comes to meal times.  We may start willingly taking him to restaurants again.

His favorite toy is an old box with a handle that he keeps plastic food in.  He insisted on taking it to the park this weekend and often tries to take it to bed.

He dumps the dogs' water bowl over less but keeps drinking out of it lately.  Sometimes he dumps it on the floor so he can get on his belly and try to suck it up.  He's so gross.  Speaking of which, he's sick all the time and gets us sick all the time.  I had no idea being a parent would mean so much personal illness.  We don't get better around here; we just get sick with something new.  We've each had at least 3 distinct illnesses in the last month.  He's on his third round of antibiotics for some stubbornly infected ears.  If they're still infected tomorrow we're headed to a specialist.

Some people think it's time to cut his hair.  Some days I think those people are right, but then others I just can't bear to part with his curls.

Saturday, March 10, 2012

Year 2

Two and a few weeks. We have become bad blogger. The photo was taken a week late. I am posting it more than two weeks late. We have all been sick. Several times. Lots of things have gotten in the way. Emily says she going to get on soon and write something. We will see. I have been planning a Year two recap. We will see when I get that done.

Eli at two. Does this even need a caption?

Also, yes I know the bottom of his shoe is gross. Its a Kodner tradition that the year two photo has this in it.

Wednesday, February 22, 2012

Video of the week: Dancing with George

Every morning Eli gets to watch George on the tv. PBS does this dance/exercise lead in right before. Eli loves to dance and we love to watch. I had to get it a video before it was to late.

He is a bit self conscious at times, but he is so cute. I know its a long video, so if you want to get to the best part its around two min.

Wednesday, January 25, 2012

Month 23

Twenty-Three. If tradition holds this is the last month photo that I will ever post. After this, photos are to be taken in half year intervals until twelve and one year intervals until 21.

Emily reminded me that when this tradition started 34 years ago that film, time, and the cost of producing a photo every month made it a much different proposition to produce. I don't know, maybe we will shoot one of these every month until he goes to college. Maybe he will find it interesting himself and want to keep doing it himself long after he has left the nest. On the 13th of next month I will be 368 months old. What would that be like to see if I had month photos going back that far? Just after Eli's 83 birthday he could shoot his 1000 month photo!

I am going to have to think about this some more.

Friday, January 20, 2012

Our equal

Now that the weather is bad we always take our shoes off in the hall before we come in to our condo. We don't take Eli's off because most of the time he does not get to run around in the muck.

Well last night mister mister refused to come in last night until he took off his shoes. Its funny the things they pick up.

Wednesday, January 18, 2012

Video of the Week: Dolphin Show

Last week we went to the Shedd Aquarium with some friends. We went to the Dolphin show. Eli had a good time. Socks and shoes were optional.

Friday, January 13, 2012

Video of the Week: Climbing

This is my first video post in a long time. Its funny naming it a "video of the week". When I first started this video posting thing I was planning on doing it every Tuesday. Well I still use that tag for video posts, but I post when I can... um.. when I think about it.

This video sums up life for us very well. Elias can and will use anything to help him climb if he can move/stand on it. These things include, chairs, suitcases, sit and spins, step stools, flipped over bins, Daddy, file boxes, and many many other things that I can't list (or always predict). Also, will you look at that mess in the background of the video? We clean and clean, but never get anywhere. We live with a monkey. A very messy monkey.  

When Elias was more little than he is today we were concerned that he was going to learn things from the dogs. Things like drinking from a bowl or just barking at things. Well it looks like we should have been more concerned about the dogs learning from Elias. When I got home from work yesterday I found an almost empty tray of brownies. On top of our bar. Nothing else was out of place. How did Leroy do it? He went from our desk chair (slightly pulled out), to the desk, to a bar stool (also slightly pulled out) to the bar. Who do you think taught him how to pull off such a daring move?

Wednesday, January 04, 2012

Month 22

Your Mama just wrote a very nice long post. She yelled at me that I was going to bump her post with this one. So go read and love her post.

Tuesday, January 03, 2012

State of the Eli

I just got to spend 2 uninterrupted weeks with my sweet boy and haven't blogged about him in approximately 99 months, so I thought I'd better catch up.

Natural Disasters

My darling Eli is a small tornado.  His hobbies include:
  • Knocking lamps onto the floor (successfully breaking FOUR to date)
  • Dumping boxes or bags of food out on the ground
  • Picking up food that he has dumped on the ground
  • Climbing anything and everything.  He is, in his heart, a monkey.  He’s been found atop kitchen counters, dressers, dining tables, bar stools.  We’re trying to be really firm on the no crawling on the dining table rule.  
  • Dumping dog water onto the floor (and then frequently getting on the ground and licking it off the floor).  Our floor is warped from all of the water and Jack can frequently be found inside the bathtub licking water from the drain as we often move his water bowls to the counter.
We just spent the last two weeks at our family’s homes feeling stressed about his relentless destruction.  At our home, all drawers are tied shut, there is no access to the kitchen, and no plants are within reach.  When we go out into the real world, we fail.  He is fast, strong, dexterous and excellent at problem solving.  My mom thought she could stop him from opening some drawers by sticking a yard stick through the drawer handles.  He had the stick out and was waving it around in about 5 seconds.

Monkey indoctrination is finally paying off

Eli’s life can be measured in week, months, and entertainment obsessions.  So far, we have encountered:

  • The “Hush Little Baby” phase (short-lived)
  • The “Old MacDonald Had  a Farm” phase (we sang no fewer than 3,000 verses of that song)
  • The Dr. Seuss phase (featuring Red Fish Blue Fish, Green Eggs and Ham, The Cat in the Hat)

And now, the Curious George phase.  He loves that little monkey in books, TV shows, movies, and pictures.  Many people have speculated that his love for climbing and seeming indifference towards verbalization are related to his obsession.  Word about the monkey boys has gotten out; for Christmas and/or Hannukah, among other things, he received a monkey blanket, monkey clothes, monkey pajamas, a monkey pillow case, a monkey pillow pet, 2 sets of George books,  a DVD featuring 8 episodes of George, and monkey slipper socks .  I am considering redecorating his room in George, but I am afraid we’re just weeks away from the next obsession.  Perhaps it will be Elmo next.

Apparently a toddler can survive on bread alone

His diet stinks.  We continue to put fruit and vegetables in front of him and he continues to immediately identify them as plant life that the dogs might be interested in.  We’re currently experimenting with freeze dried fruit.  He’ll often eat cheese and meat.  Most reliably he eats carbs.  Z Bars (the kid version of Cliff or Luna Bars) are his crack.  We limit him to one Z Bar a day max, and he has let us know through very long tantrums that he thinks our policy is B.S.

Who needs words when you can stomp and cry?

He learns the important words: Z, George, Mama, Daddy, thanks, hello, no, shoes, choo choo, go!, tree, ball, bubbles, bump, box, shhhhh,  Jack and Leroy (or at least his names for them), PawPaw (twice so far).  He signs “more” and for nursing.  Rather than say yes, he usually claps and smiles excitedly.  He clearly understands when we ask him questions about what he wants to do and will usually point at the right person or dog when we test him on family names but generally gets annoyed at our “where is the ___” games

His Nature

Its funny how much of what is essentially Eli has been around since day one.  The kid is particular and lives life at the extremes.  So often he is either on top of the world laughing and squealing with joy or the world is ending and he is screaming in agony.  As I read it described on the Dr. Sears site once, he is “an impressive crier.”

Much like his mother, he is not a morning person or a too-soon-after-nap person for that matter.   We don’t like to see or talk to people for a requisite period of time after opening our eyes.

He is affectionate and cuddly.  He gives unsolicited hugs, kisses, and raspberries.  When he’s sleepy or scared he’ll put his arms around Kenny or me  and lay his head on our chests.

He loves dogs of any size and likes to hug and pet them.   Barking thrills him.

He is generally slow to warm to new adults.  Every now and then he’ll fall immediately in love with an old man (particularly those with interesting facial hair) or a youngish female.  He likes to play with other kids but often forgets not to pull hair or push them.