Monday, February 20, 2017

Happy 10th Birthday, Elijah!

Today marks one decade since our oh-so-beautiful oldest son entered the world. I have spent today thinking back on that day. I remember the smell of the NICU, the way the skin on Elijah's neck felt sooo silky soft and how his small, confident smile told me that everything was going to be ok. I remember being afraid of the uncertainty, but falling head over heels in love and having hope for the future. I remember doing a lot of silent wondering about how his life would play out. We were told over and over that "We just don't know." His doctors didn't know how well his heart would work or how many surgeries he would need. They didn't know if he would grow well or talk well or walk well. There were so many things we could have become consumed with, but by the grace of God we didn't. We kept our eyes turned upward and we cared for Elijah the VERY best we knew how.

I was sitting next to my boy in the NICU when a sweet nurse shared something with me that I'll never forget. She said, "You know he's going to be great, right? These heart kiddos, the ones who have to go through so much, they stand apart." At the time I didn't know what that meant, but I cherished her words and made a point to remember them.

Ten. Years. Later. I cannot even believe what obstacles this boy has overcome and what an incredible little person he has become. Back then, in the days of the NICU, I never could have dreamed that in the following decade Elijah would:
Have 24 surgeries and be followed by 14 medical specialists.
Love Jesus, his little bro, chess, stuffed animals, movies, jokes, Pokemon, cheese, animals, water, skiing, horseback riding and anything that involves going really fast.
Crave adventure and meeting new people.
Have visited over 30 of the 50 states.
Have dreams of being a scientist and a baker and a dad when he grows up.
Look people directly in the eye when he speaks.
Be thriving in school.
Have a little brother that he loves to pieces.
Be such an incredibly smart boy.
Love singing and dancing to worship music.
Tell me, after a middle-of-the-night bloody nose incident, "See ya in the morning, Babe."
Be growing well, talking well and walking well.
Stand apart.

His first decade is an incredible story of love, faith, strength, courage and perseverance. Dan and I have said to each other since even before Elijah was born that he was going to teach us more than we could ever teach him and those words couldn't be more true. He has changed our worlds for the better in so many ways. I love this boy with all my heart and I cannot wait to see how the next decade unfolds!


Wednesday, February 15, 2017

Valentine's Day 2017

Happy belated Valentine's Day! Our boys love Valentine's Day and are not shy about sharing their love for everyone. Yesterday after school they put on a "show of love" in our living room where they sang and danced for me for 40 minutes. Sammy kept writing down lyrics and professing his love for mama. He wasn't always comfortable performing so he'd make Elijah sing on those songs while he took care of drumming or dancing. It was great and I soaked in every word!

Dan and I celebrated in typical fashion with a steak and crab leg dinner after the boys were in bed. YUM!

Two weekends ago the boys and I visited the Stillwater ice castles. They were so cool! Elijah and Sammy had fun navigating their way through the castles with maps in hand.

And the cutest little first grader ever had his Valentine musical performance at school on Friday. It was ADORABLE. Sammy participated in the singing AND actions for the first time ever! He kept glancing our way with a cute, toothless smile on his face. This boy melts my heart!

My boys are constantly making me laugh, but this is the one thing I can think of from recently. Sammy has been crawling into bed with me early every morning. If it's before 6:30 I ask him to be very quiet, no talking, sleeping only. One morning he agreed to that request and after lying next to me quietly for a minute, he loud-whispered, "MOM. In the morning, can I tell you about my nose?" It was so funny and random that we both laughed forever.

Elijah has been doing great in school! He's had many great days and we are so proud of him! We had stellar conferences recently for both boys. Elijah's grades are AWESOME for Elijah and Sammy's grades are AWESOME for Sammy. We learned that Sammy is in the 99th percentile for math (wow!) and that he is excelling in every subject.

Elijah has had a few specialist appointments recently that have gone great. He has a few more in the coming weeks. In the next few days we'll be gearing up for his TENTH birthday! Crazy!

Thanks so much for reading and my apologies for being so scarce recently. It's been a bit of a rough start to the year, but things are looking up!

Friday, January 27, 2017

Pushing through winter!

My photos aren't uploading tonight, so I'll just give a quick update! Dan is out of town again, Elijah has been sick for the past couple days and we are trudging through winter. Honestly, it has not been the most positive start to the year emotionally and health-wise, but we're hoping for a turnaround very soon!

Tonight the boys and I did our standard Friday pizza-movie night together and we snuggled up like crazy on the couch. Afterward we had a silly dance party that Sammy in particular thought was a riot. It ended with him leaning over to kiss me on the cheek. I turned my head at the last second, which caused his smooch to land on my lips. He said, "HEY! You gave me LIPS, lady!" The three of us laughed for five minutes straight. These boys crack me up!

Elijah has had borderline croup for the past two nights, but nothing bad enough to get him up to take medicine for (THANK GOODNESS). He threw up at school yesterday and stayed home with me today. Sammy hasn't felt 100% all week, but has pushed through his week. I woke up this morning with a sore throat and headache. This week I started making spinach smoothies again, which I'm hoping will help to boost our immune systems! Darn winter!

Both boys have started chess class and I think it's so good for Sammy to be a part of that now with his brother. School has been going well for both boys. Sammy got ALL Es on his report card this week (Exceeds grade level) and Elijah is doing GREAT, as well (he now gets the ABCDF scale in 4th grade and has done better than we had hoped). We were so proud of both boys!

My cuties and I have some fun things planned for our weekend! Hopefully you do, too! Thanks for checking in.

Tuesday, January 17, 2017

Boys on skis

Elijah started skiing with the Courage Kenny program and he is rocking it! Last year he made such huge progress with snowboarding, so I figured skiing would be great to try. His instructor is AMAZING and I could not have asked for a better match. He instantly made a genuine connection with E and understood that getting him down the hill and on the chairlift needed to happen asap in order to alleviate anxiety. That boy skied down an entire hill 2 or 3 times on the first day (with assistance, but still so cool).

My silly boys have been in such a creative zone lately. I love watching them play and seeing how their little minds work. I'm so grateful that they have each other and that they (usually) love spending time together. Last night I walked into the bathroom after bath to find that they had transformed into Frankensteins.

I bought a used pair of skis and boots from a friend and put them on Sammy this week. This is a HUGE huge deal since he's been declaring for years that he would "never ever ever" go skiing. First step was our yard. Next we'll try a bunny hill and magic carpet. :)

The boys have their daily moments, but for the most part have been doing so well. Elijah has had many great days in school and overall has had great days at home, too. I've been in my usual post-holiday funk but hopefully will get my head above water soon. That's all I've got for now! Thanks for stopping by!

Friday, January 6, 2017

Love is in the house

It has been sad to say good-bye to winter break. I LOVED the precious time I got to spend with my boys and I was secretly so sad to drop them off at school on Tuesday morning after spending two and a half weeks together. Having my cuties within earshot and arm's length makes me a happy mama. There is certainly value in them going to school, but I adore my time with them. They won't be "little" forever so I relish every moment I can get.

Over break my boys decided it was time to watch Star Wars! We watched the first three movies together over the weekend and we all enjoyed them. The boys asked a TON of questions (so many that it was hard to hear what was being said most of the time) and they are excited about the next few. 

Sammy and Elijah have both lost teeth over the past few days, but Sammy's loss has added an extra lisp to his already cute lisp. I just love it when those top front teeth go missing. The cuteness is almost too much to handle.

Since break, Sammy has been extra into Mommy (lucky me!). Every morning (after getting dressed of course, because his is Mr. Responsible & Organized) the first thing he does is crawl into bed with me, usually after asking, "Anyone want some Sammy snuggles?!" And this is when the I-love-yous begin for the day. Lately he's been saying, "I love you more than you love me!" And I say, "Not possible!" And he says, "Always possible!" Repeat about 100 times. I love it!

While I'm on the Sammy topic, he has shown such incredible determination lately. This fall Elijah took a chess class at school and became really good at it. Sammy saw this and decided he needed to learn, too, so he watched his brother play and within a couple days he knew all the rules and could hold his own. I thought this was impressive! Then the other morning he decided that he needed to learn how to play the recorder since Elijah knows how. He asked E to teach him the notes and within 15 minutes could read music for and play Jingle Bells. Nice work, Sammy!

We are coming up on the time of year when we see a bunch of Elijah's specialists. Next week brings a couple appointments and we expect everything to check out fine. We have seen improvements in some areas and regression in others (like following directions). Sometimes I have to stop and remember all that he has overcome. It's amazing to consider how well he is doing in spite of the many big hurdles he has had to leap over! We are super blessed and have two amazing boys!

Elijah starts SKIING tomorrow, wooo! I'm buying Sammy a used pair of skis and boots tomorrow so we'll see if I can get them onto his feet without too much fuss. I hope you all have a warm weekend!

Saturday, December 31, 2016

Merry Christmas 2016 and Happy NEW YEAR!

This is my last post of 2016! I didn't write much here this year because, well, we were busy! My boys and I reflected back on the year today. WOW. What an incredible year. We made tons of memories that will never be forgotten. It'll go down in the books as one of our biggest. I am grateful for everything that 2016 brought our way. We are praying for another year filled with great memories, adventure, family and good health!

This month was crazy. At times I wanted to hide in bed for days, but we kept marching on and made some great memories with loved ones. We hosted Dan's family on Christmas Eve, my dad and stepmom flew in the following day and the day after we had my sisters and their families over. We have the best families and it's another big thing we are grateful for!

We have been loving our new house! It has been a comforting spot for us all and I don't think there's another family who would love it and feel as blessed to have it as we do. We say prayers of gratitude every day.

The boys had a fruitful Christmas. They received a few prize gifts and were genuinely grateful for everything, even though they didn't get everything they wished could have fallen into their laps. We made an effort to focus on giving more than ever this year, so hopefully it rubbed off a bit.

My dad and stepmom left today after being here for almost a week. We loved having them here and both boys were so sad not to have their Grammy and Gramps tuck-ins tonight. More fun memories with them were made this week.

We accomplished a momentous feat today. The glorious locks were chopped! I personally love long hair especially on Sammy, but both boys looked so super handsome afterward. Look at my handsome boys!

I am going to make more of an effort to get here more often this year. There are constantly so many funny/cute things coming from these boys and I need to be better at writing them down. More to come soon! Thanks for checking in!

Friday, December 16, 2016

December update!

Where has this month gone? We are still here! We have been swept up in the busy-ness of the season. The boys are wrapping up their last day of school before winter break as I type. Due to impending snow, they are getting out a bit early today. They will have 2 1/2 weeks off of school! I've worked hard to get Christmas shopping and wrapping mostly done by today so I can spend quality time with them next week and the week after.

I don't have a ton of share-worthy info, but wanted to check in. Dan and I are spending a night away from home tonight while the boys sleep over with their cousins. It'll be a fun night, all around! Tomorrow it is supposed to get as low as -25 degrees (without factoring in wind chill), so we will be all cozied up!

My next post will be more exciting. :) Thanks for peeking in! Enjoy your weekend!