Wednesday, November 25, 2015

New friends and MUCH to be thankful for!

The past week has FLOWN by! Holy cow! We have been working, schooling and everything in between. Over the weekend we had our sweet niece Alyssa over, did some baking, cooking and made it to small group. For the past week we all have been PRAYING that Elijah would survive being at small group with us (going to bed past 8pm). He struggled a little bit that night, but he did GREAT on the days that followed. Our prayers were answered!

On Saturday morning we went to a Hope Kids event at the Mall of America that we've gone to for the past few years...Cookies with Santa! The boys had a blast, as always. They made cookies, cards, ornaments and played video games, skee-ball and air hockey (Elijah is SO good at air hockey, we discovered!). They even got to sit on Santa's lap and tell him what they want for Christmas and thankfully their requests were reasonable.

I was able to spend the afternoon with Sammy in his class for Parents' Day today. We had fun! I love spending time with him in his classroom. He is such a good friend and student. Doesn't he look great in his turkey leg hat?? :)

There is a little boy in Sammy's class who he LOVES....and who loves him back. It is so sweet. This little boy reminds me a lot of Elijah. He just needs a little extra love and I am always so wanting to give it to him. R, Sammy and I make a good team. R hung out with us today and we had a great time together. At the end of the day Sammy and I got ready to grab Elijah from his classroom. R did NOT want us to leave. :( He kept hugging Sammy and saying, "Please don't leave!!!! Who is going to take care of me?!" It was sweet/sad. I believe Sammy is so patient with him because of his experience with Elijah. I LOVE that Sammy is such a kind and patient boy and that he is such a loyal friend!

Since it is a special holiday weekend night, we let the boys watch old-school Charlie Brown while munching on popcorn. They were in Heaven! Elijah even played the part of a pilgrim. :)

Speaking of friends, Elijah has a friend at school that he has been talking about ALL year. He has said things to me like, "Mommy, A is SOO nice to me. She is my best friend. She always makes me feel special." Well, coincidentally, we discovered that A's mom works with Dan! What a crazy coincidence! We had A over last Friday for pizza-movie night. The boys loved having her here. She is such a sweet and kind girl and it is obvious how much she loves Elijah (and vice versa). Today their class earned an afternoon party (allowing electronics), so A took this super-cute selfie of her and E with her cell phone. LOVE!!!

We are so excited that A and her mama will be joining us for Thanksgiving dinner tomorrow! Both boys are beyond excited!

We have so much to be thankful for! We pray that YOU do, as well. Thanks for peeking in. Have a wonderful Thanksgiving weekend!

Monday, November 16, 2015

Tears and happiness

For the past two years we haven't known exactly how much Daylight Savings has impacted Elijah's sleep because everything else was totally chaotic. It was impossible to pinpoint the main pieces of the puzzle because we were basically existing in the middle of a tornado. Now that things are much calmer, we have been able to see that Daylight Savings wreaks havoc on our early bird. That one teeny tiny hour of change sends our oldest boy into a tailspin. We have seen wake-up times between 1:30 and 4:30 for the past few weeks. Today he slept until 4:46 and I practically did cartwheels around the house! We will find our way back to a better place slowly. 

Last Friday Dan and I went to the boys' school to watch Elijah and the rest of the third graders do a Veterans' Day performance. Honestly, it made me sad and I wish we could redo it. Right away I could see that Elijah was upset. His teacher told me that he was nervous, but I know my boy and I could see that something specific was bothering him. I noticed that every kid was holding a flag...except for him. I knew he was upset about this. I frantically looked around for an extra flag that I could grab and bring to him, but I couldn't see anything. Aside from interrupting the music teacher, I didn't know what else to do. I stood and watched my boy cry through the entire performance. :( He stood so still with his arms folded in front of him, occasionally reaching up to wipe tears from his face and not doing a single action or singing a single word. I have been beating myself up, thinking I should have done something! I don't know what, but I should have been able to make him happy! The good news is that when it was his class' turn to come down in front and do a dance, Elijah participated! He didn't just participate...he did GREAT! He did all the actions! That turned things around for him (and for me). 

On Saturday we were so lucky to be able to spend time with my cousin's cutie pie. The boys were BEYOND excited to have Veda over! She is such a sweet girl and they all play so well together. The three of them played "Inside Out" and created some Play-Doh animals and then we headed to see the new Peanuts movie. It was such a fun day!

And on Sunday, thanks to Hope Kids, we were able to watch a live Timberwolves game! KG is back! I worked at Timberwolves games years ago, so I felt right at home. It was fun to watch the boys take everything in.

My silly boys with their pants pulled up just a tad too high! :)

Yesterday after the Twolves game, our boys were TIRED. Sammy was being especially sassy in the car and started doing some uncharacteristic whining that lasted for way too long. I said, "Sammy, can we please stop the whining?" He whined back to me in the longest, most drawn out voice: "WHINING IS WORTH IT!" Dan, Elijah and I exploded in laughter.

The boys got Operation Christmas Child boxes at church on Sunday, so today after school we picked up some goodies to put inside the boxes. I LOVED watching them get so excited about blessing kids who are less fortunate. I let them pick out what to put in the boxes (with some direction) and they took such pride and were genuinely so excited about making other kids happy. Tomorrow they will write letters to the kids and we will drop off the boxes together so they can experience the entire process. I love that they are old enough to appreciate and understand the concept of giving!

We have noticed some definite self-awareness in Elijah lately that is good...and bad. He is starting to see how other kids see him and he doesn't like it. He tells us all the time, "Everyone thinks I'm dumb." It kills me. We do our best to assure him that he is so super smart. That he is SUCH a good boy and so loved and liked by so many people. Even though this hurts my heart, it is also good. It's good that he is starting to look outside himself a bit. This will be a process for him, but we are here to love him and help him through it.

Both boys got their report cards today! Sammy's report was excellent. He is doing so well in kindergarten. We are so proud of him. Elijah's report was great, too! We are proud of how far he has come in the past year (heck, the past almost nine years!) and we see every "little" success as a very huge thing. Instead of getting hung up on current challenges, we see the progress and it encourages us and makes us so happy. There is SO much progress being made these days and we see every bit of it. We see it all, Elijah!

Thanks for checking in! Hoping you all have a wonderful week!

Wednesday, November 11, 2015

Good-bye, Croup! Hello, chores!

Dan was traveling for work over the weekend, so the boys and I hung out. Sammy's croup from last week lingered and he just could not shake it. By Sunday night it was almost worse than it was last Wednesday! His breathing was super tight, even after Pulmicort and Albuterol nebs. I went in to check on him before I went to sleep and at rest his breathing was strained. Ugh. If Dan would have been here, I would have taken him to the ER. With Dan gone I knew I couldn't do that without waking Elijah up. I tried all of our tricks and they collectively helped enough to get through the night. I put his wiggle-worm body into bed with me and got NO sleep, but I liked being able to hear his breathing as he slept. I was so thankful when morning arrived. I called right away and got him in to see a doctor. The dr gave him a huge oral dose of decadron (steroid) to wipe it out. It helped, but very slowly. Even today, he still sounds a little bit tight. That nasty croup loves to linger in his little body!

Waiting for the doctor...again..

Ever since Daylight Savings, Elijah has been struggling a little bit extra. It is slowly getting better. He is gradually waking up later in the morning (4:30ish now, yay!) and by evening he is SO TIRED. He will even say things like, " TIRED." He has NEVER claimed tiredness before. I've also noticed that right before bed strange things begin happening to his body. He gets headaches and he also gets scratchy, jittery and antsy. Tonight he had some weird pains in his chest (this one always freaks me out), he felt dizzy and his head got super scratchy. I laid down on the floor with him for a bit and just hugged him before we got ready for bed. I cannot imagine how he must feel. I know it feels different than what most of us feel. While I was lying on the floor with him, he said, "Mom? Am I dumb?" I assured him that he is so super duper smart. He said that when he makes bad decisions at school, he is sure the other kids think he is dumb. This is perhaps the first time he has been aware of others noticing certain behaviors of his. I told my sweet boy that he is kind and so smart and that anyone who thinks he is anything but that is not worth spending time with. Some people will never understand (that applies to all of us!) and that is ok.

We started a new chore system where the boys can earn money by helping out around the house. I included a few things that they are struggling with like, um, LISTENING! They can earn $0.25 just by obeying after the first request! Elijah wants to earn $9.99 to buy a book at next week's book fair, so he is motivated! It is nice to have a motivated boy around here. Shoes are being put away, coats are being hung, recycling is being carried to the garage and dishes are being brought to the counter. These boys have gotten out of control with their potty talk, so hopefully this new plan will help that, as well.

It hasn't been the greatest of weeks, but thinking back to last year at this time....things are GREAT! After school today I got 45 minutes of quality snuggles from BOTH boys...with NO boy fights! It was heavenly. Elijah has a new behavioral aide who will be coming by our home a few hours/week. We are all super excited about this! We have some fun plans coming up these next few weekends. The boys are getting excited for the holidays. It is so much fun to see their excitement and to have energy to enjoy things this year.

Thanks for checking in!

Thursday, November 5, 2015

Croup: Season 6, Episode 1 (Samson)

You can't make this stuff up, people. Sammy came into our room verrrry early this morning barking like a wounded seal. At first I thought it was a part of my dream and I couldn't make out what the sound was. Usually Elijah's stridor comes with frantic screaming, so it was unique hearing a calm but stressed breathing. Dan sat in a steamy bathroom with him for 20 minutes and it got a little bit better. He came to bed with us (post-croup protocol) and we did NOT sleep for the remainder of the night. But at least I could monitor his breathing. I stayed home with him again today because the stridor just did not leave and he looked pale and tired. We gave him oral steroids before bed tonight and we are praying for a peaceful night!

He made himself a little fort today and tucked himself into it, feet sticking out. He said in his deep growly voice, "I'm resting, Mom.....I could stay in here for HOURS." :)

We watched a bit of tv today, but did a ton of art projects, as well. This boy is an artist! He loves painting and drawing and coloring and even creating his own fonts ("fancy letters"). He is so creative and takes pride in his work. I love it!

A few funny things he said to me very early this morning..

Before he got sick, he ran out of his bedroom a few times and into ours. When I told him to go back to bed he said, "Yeah...I do keep running back to my bed. You know why?" "Why, Sam." "Because it's UN-COZY out here."

After the croup-shower treatment, he laid in bed with me and tried to talk except his voice was super scratchy. He said, "Oh no! My body isn't letting my voice work!" .....long pause and some thinking.... "MOM! What if I don't know the sign language for a word and also can't SAY the word to you?! What will I do!?!?"

A silver lining from staying home with Sammy today was that I had time to organize and clean! I dominated our kitchen! :) I reorganized a handful of our dreadful cupboards and threw tons of unnecessary stuff away. (If you're wondering if this photo is a before or after shot, it's AFTER!)

I also made a delicious soup in the crockpot, washed and put away every dish and article of clothing in our home, cleaned out our fridge and wrote up a detailed dinner menu for the following week. I also wrote a list on our white board of every item of food in our freezer and fridge and which ones should be used sooner rather than later. A day of progress!

NOT along those same lines, Elijah has had a really tough past couple of days both at home and at school. We are seeing glimpses of last year and while it is frustrating and difficult, we understand it now. Daylight savings is always KILLER for him (so much worse for the early early birds) and we also gave him a few doses of steroids during and after croup this week (which always makes him extra edgy). Tonight was rough and I remembered just how difficult EVERYTHING can be when a single force is working completely against me. Literally the second he stepped off the bus today, the aura of the day totally changed. We are praying for a restful night of sleep tonight and for things to fall back into a more peaceful place.

Thanks for peeking in! Pray with us for PORTA PEACE! :) And peace for all of you, of course, as well!

Tuesday, November 3, 2015

Croup: Season 8, Episode 1 (Elijah)

I did not see last night's croup episode coming AT ALL, which is rare for me. Elijah was showing a few tiny signs of sickness yesterday, but I was so consumed with Sammy's strep that I didn't give croup a single thought. He woke up around midnight gasping and I knew he needed an epi neb asap. We got him downstairs and thankfully we were able to find the neb quickly since we haven't had to use it in so long. He was scared and was borderline panicking, which always makes things so much worse. I tried my hardest to appear calm so he would calm down. We turned on a show and let the racemic epi do its thing. When it was done he still had stridor, but it was manageable. We gave him a dose of oral steroids and I brought him to bed with me for a few hours so I could listen to his breathing. I loved that he kept reaching for me and wanting me to wrap my arms around him. :) After a few hours, Dan brought him back to bed and the rest of the night was uneventful. He was up extra early, thank you, Daylight Savings. This will happen for at least the next week.

I kept both boys home from school today, Sammy because of strep and Elijah because of after effects of croup. Despite not having slept much and having steroids in his body (usually these make him super irritable), we had a pretty awesome day! Both boys weren't at full capacity, but feeling good enough to play a bit and snuggle a lot. We barely got out of our pajamas today and took advantage of sickness-related technology privileges. :) Dan and I have implemented a no-technology rule on all school days, so today was an exception!

I'm wondering if the germs that infiltrated their bodies conspired with our boys because their dual day of sickness coincided with a very important day. As I walked bleary-eyed out of my bedroom this morning, this is the sign Elijah held in front of me.

I said, "Oh, how exciting!!" and then told him that I wasn't going to just go buy it. So he and Sammy grabbed their wallets and pooled the money and gift cards (thanks, Grammie and Gramps!) that they've been saving and presented me with enough money to cover a dvd purchase. So being the nice mom that I am, I went to Target at 8:00 this morning and bought their beloved dvd so my sweet sickies could enjoy it today. They were soooo happy.

They are both doing much better tonight and I plan to send them to school in the morning. Phew, another sickness under our belts! Getting on with our week now. Thanks for peeking in!

Monday, November 2, 2015

Halloween 2015 and an update

I was hoping that we got sickness out of the way for a bit, but it has invaded our home again. Yesterday Sammy had a fever and sore throat so we kept him home from school today. As the day went on I noticed he was swallowing more and more gingerly, so I took him to the doctor right before the clinic closed. Thank goodness I did because he has strep! We got Elijah tested, too, and he's in the clear for now. Sammy and I will have another day tomorrow of chillin' at home. Not that I ever wish for my boy to be sick, but I LOVED our time together today. 

I'm so glad the sickness struck after Halloween! The boys had such a blast dressing up and going trick-or-treating. I don't know if I have ever seen Sammy so excited and happy. He was bouncing off the walls, even before the sugar entered his body. :) Sammy decided to do his own thing with his pumpkin this year and I love it. He even carved most of it by himself!

Sammy and Elijah dressed up as Fear and Anger from Inside Out. They love that movie SO MUCH and have been so excited to personify these cute little guys. My talented mom knitted Sammy's sweater vest. Isn't it perfect?! I think they both looked so darn cute.

We went trick-or-treating at a nearby mall and the boys got TONS of candy and had fun hanging out with a couple of their awesome cousins. In standard fashion, our organized Sam came home and immediately began counting his loot in perfectly straight rows. 54 pieces (or something like that)!

Elijah isn't quite as organized with his candy, but he of course still enjoyed it!

Our boys are so different in just about every way. Dan and I always know not to touch a single piece of Sammy's candy stash because he will know immediately that something is amiss. Elijah gets excited about acquiring candy and enjoys eating it, but not to the degree that Sammy does and without so much forethought and organization. IF...we "steal" candy at all, it is from Elijah's stash because usually by the next day it is off his radar. :)

Aside from Sammy's sickness, we have had a great past few days. We are still adjusting to things in this new life of ours with Dan working "normal" hours and with Elijah being able to handle so much more than ever before. For literally the first time since before I got pregnant with Elijah, we feel like we have room to breathe. We are able to go above and beyond with some things, which is actually probably just "normal" for most people. We have scraped by for so long and it feels good being in the place we're at. I have been printing and hanging pictures on walls, keeping up with laundry, reading books, keeping up with Elijah's homework and so much more. Life is good!

Speaking of Elijah and homework, he is doing so much better with it this year. I sit down with him every weekday after school that he doesn't have therapy. His teacher told me to JUST have him do 2 problems per section so we don't overwhelm him and that is going well. I usually hear a few BOOORRRINNNNGs, but not much more than that. Last year and the year before, something that took 45 minutes and with MUCH more complaining now takes 10 minutes. Tonight he sat down with me and wrote five sentences by himself without a single complaint. Last year he never ever ever would have done that. He is so smart. Math clicks quickly in his brain and we all know that reading has always come so naturally for him. He told me the other day that science is a new interest!

I need to write more updates because I could go on and on. Working in Cannon Falls for this season doesn't allow me quite as much time to do that, but I need to write down more about daily life with these awesome boys. They are still so little and funny and sweet. They still enjoy being with me and holding my hand and snuggling with me and I love it. I soak it up every single day and enjoy every single moment.

Thanks for checking in and reading to the end. :) Have a great night!

Tuesday, October 27, 2015

School updates and boy funnies

I don't have anything specific or huge to report. We have had a mostly good past couple days. The weekend was nice since none of us were sick! We went to see a movie at the cheap theater and we cleaned (exciting!), went to church and to the club and hung out at home. Elijah's sleep has been good and bad and as always, the challenging periods come in spurts and they are usually related to potty issues. I received a heartbreaking call from his teacher today. A few kids in his class conspired and put a HIT ME sign on his back. :( Another kid stood up for him and told the other kids to take it off. It sounds like it was a fairly big ordeal. Parents were called and kids were talked to. I talked to Elijah about it very gently and he seemed sad about what had happened. Other than that and a few minor things here and there, things at school are going well for him. I am constantly reminding myself how far we have come and how much progress Elijah has made! It's pretty amazing, actually. I tell BOTH of my boys how proud I am of them all the time and I think it confuses Elijah to hear that because it has become so ingrained in him that he makes bad decisions (scars from the past two school years). I constantly try to remind him how much he has learned and about the good decisions he makes now.

Sammy is doing great in kindergarten! His sweet teacher has told us that he is very patient and kind and a hard worker and good friend. His handwriting and reading have improved SO MUCH since school began! He could read maybe 15 words starting the school year and now he can read at least 50. He will actually come home from school and create work sheets for himself and complete them. He has his first class field trip on Thursday and I'm so excited that I'll be able to go with him! Last week he got invited to a birthday party for a little boy in his class and it broke my heart when Elijah read the invitation and excitedly said, "Can we go, Mom?!" :( Sammy was able to go to the party and he had a blast. Such a blast that he woke me up at 3:00 the next morning to tell me that he wanted to go back. Seriously. Elijah was upset that he wasn't able to go along, but we arranged a Daddy-Elijah date during that same time and they had a great time.

I'll end with some boy funnies that I've been collecting. Thanks for checking in!

One night Sammy didn't want to eat dinner and kept trying to get Dan to take bites of his food so he would need to eat less and still get dessert. Sammy grabbed a name tag that was lying on the table near him and that Dan had worn at a recent conference and that had his name on it. Sam turned to me, held up the name tag and said, "Send this guy over here!"

After getting mad at me because I ONLY got Sammy a cookie at Subway and not a cookie AND chips he said, "You are NOT my favorite person." I quickly reminded him that we always need to be grateful for every little thing and he was silent for a few minutes. Then he whispered into my ear, "The word 'not' was actually supposed to be silent. I meant to say that you ARE my favorite person."

After giving Elijah after-school snuggles today as I do every day (usually upon his request) he said, "You're the greatest woman in the world. You're like a little good person!" :)

Dan: Elijah, if you had to pick ONE of the following which would you choose...the biggest lollipop ever OR a giant pool of chocolate?
Elijah: Hmmmmmm....wellllll....normally I'd choose both. (long pause) But if I had to pick one...hmmmm.....I'll pick the pool of chocolate.

Sammy's bedtime prayer one night last week: Dear Jesus, thank you for this day. Thank you for Earth. Thank you for life. Thank you for my faaaaaavorite person in this family, whoooo iiiiizzzz.......(long dramatic pause) sweetest brother Elijah. Amen.

Sammy (calling from bed): Mommy! My toenail is rubbing on my sheets. Will you clip it?
Me (wielding clippers): Ok, which one is it?
Sammy: Foot ONE! Toe ONE!
Me: Would that be right foot, big toe?
Sammy: You got it, clipper woman!