Tuesday, September 2, 2014

Second grade, here we come (and some funnies, too)!


How is it possible that Elijah is in second grade?! That seems so hard to believe. After we got him on the bus this morning, I found myself thinking back on his precious little life up till now. I remember being in the NICU with him when he was a few days old and having a nurse tell us that these kids (heart kids) are special. They are unique and awesome and they stand out. Seven and a half years later...YEP! That describes our awesome oldest boy! Side note...I was filling out a paper from E's teacher and she asked us to describe him in three words. Ha! Three words?! I said, "Elijah, describe yourself in three words." Without skipping a beat, he said, "Smart, awesome and cute!" :)

Dan and I met with E's teacher, Mrs. G, last week. She was SO kind and comforting and we both got a really good feeling about her. We are grateful. I know we will likely have struggles on some level this year, but I have a feeling it'll be a much different story than last year. Elijah has matured and we have learned so much about how he thinks and operates.

This morning before school, as I was combing and re-combing Elijah's hair so it would stay down, he said to me, "Awww. I'm going to miss my brother today." Just before E got onto the bus, Sammy hugged him violently and said, "I'm going to MISS you, my cute, sweet BUDDY!" These boys love each other sooo much. When E's bus rolled up to our house this afternoon, Sammy RAN to it, screaming, "MY BUDDYYYYYY!!!!!"

And on a Sammy note...oh my goodness, he is so funny and precious! I have a few boy (mostly Sam) funnies to share from recently..

Me: I love you, Sammy.
Sammy: I love your body but I do NOT love your head.
(pretty sure the translation for this is: Please stop talking, Mother!)

Sammy: Daddy, I love you.
Dan: I love you, too, Sammy. I love our whole family.
S: Hands down, we have the best family EVER.

He has been so smart lately with the way he responds to being upset with us. Instead of punching or kicking (thank goodness this reaction seems to be fading), he will throw out the words instead. Here are a few examples:

I'm going to catch Daddy in a giant net.
I'm going to catch Daddy in a giant tornado.
I'm going to explode Mommy.
I'm going to pop Mommy's head off.

Elijah (upon seeing Dan walk by with his hair pulled back in a ponytail): What the heck?! Why is there a ponytail on the back of Daddy's head?
Sammy: Is Daddy MOMMY?!

I don't think I ever wrote about this one, but it definitely needs to be told! While we were in Iowa for our family reunion last month, I brought Sammy downstairs to the bedroom for a time-out. I told him to stay there until he was ready to be kind and use kind words. As I left the room, I heard the door lock behind me. "Sammy, open the door, please!" "NO." "Open the door NOW." ....long pause....then Sammy said from the other side of the locked door, "RUDE WOMAN IN THE AREA!" I about died laughing. I ran upstairs to tell my family and they laughed, too. Then..back downstairs to get through the door that was being guarded by the Sassy Sam. :)

The boys, especially Elijah, fell asleep QUICKLY tonight. Novel situations and times of transition are particularly scary for him, so please pray with us for a positive school year and a seamless adjustment period. Our family has a CRAZY couple of months ahead of us, so I'm doing my best not to think too much about it. We'll get through it, right?!

Thanks for peeking in! Have a great week.

Friday, August 29, 2014

State Fair 2014

I have the most handsome boys on the planet! Sorting through these pics, I'm realizing how many close-ups I took of my three boys at the State Fair this year.

We had such a fun trip there this week, as we always do. We counted out years and figured that Elijah has been to NINE Fairs (including when he was in my tummy) and Sammy has been to five. 

We always start out with a massive Pronto Pup. :)



Then we move onto Sweet Martha's Cookies. The boys' favorite.




We tried a few new things this year, like this dreamsicle smoothie that the boys sucked down in 60 seconds. Another new favorite: reuben bites.




Sammy was so excited about seeing Cowwy's (his favorite stuffed animal) family! "LOOK! It's Cowwy's family! Take a picture!"


Our standard Oink Booth crown pic that I take every year.


Sammy was excited to see the "Daddy Pig" (MN's largest boar).


Aww, love this one.


It took MUCH effort and many tears to capture this photo. I'm glad we made it happen.


Waiting in line to get my age guessed.


Sammy, snuggling with his new I-Love-You-Monkey.


In previous years only Elijah has wanted to go on the ferris wheel, but this year Sammy joined us. Can you spot their cute faces?



Last year Elijah would not go on the Giant Slide because the previous year had traumatized him. I talked him into going this year and he was a little scared, but loved it once it was done.



The boys' first time ever eating snow cones!




As usual, we ended with the kid rides. The boys have a love-hate relationship with the Winky the Whale ride. They love it once it gets going, but anticipating the strange noise it makes drives them just about crazy!


Elijah rode on the little swings alone while Sammy watched.


Then Sammy decided he reeeeallly wanted to go, too, but only if Elijah could sit right behind him. Once the ride got going, he reached back for Elijah's hand and they held hands for the duration of the ride. It was the sweetest thing ever, and it totally calmed him.






My favorite pic of the day.




Note to self: buy THREE sheets of ride tickets in advance next year. Now that the boys are older and enjoying more things, we go through them quickly.


Super excited to be exiting the Wacky House.



The boys each won a handful of toys and had plenty of sugar in their bellies at the end of the day.


We spent a family record amount of time at the Fair--FIVE hours! That's a lot for us.


Dan and I had saved money up specifically for the Fair and had a tiny bit "extra" in the end. So we caved when the boys pleaded for us to buy them a fluffy unicorn from Despicable Me.


Fluffy Unicorn is treated like royalty in our house. She gets tucked into her bed in the loft every night and is gently awakened every morning.


It's so sad that our Fair time is done this summer! That means Fall is near. :( We had such a fun time and we are thankful that we are able to do this as a family every year.

Wednesday, August 27, 2014

Anticipating second grade

I have State Fair pics and some other fun bits to share, but I have a few dozen things ahead of those things on my to-do list. For now I'll write a quick post to say that we are all doing well! The little boys and I went to Elijah's second grade open house tonight. I cannot believe my big boy will be in second grade! It's surreal to consider our journey and it takes a lot of effort for me not to cry when I think about it. I think his teacher is going to be a really good fit. I was very happy with our interactions tonight. She is KIND, very warm, engaging and she made an effort to make Elijah feel important. She knew of his hearing difficulties, so she made a point to ask about seating and what would work best for him.

We are trying to be as proactive as possible, so Dan and I have a quick meeting with Mrs. G in the morning. I'd like to discuss Elijah's challenges in a nutshell and what helps/hurts. I'm hoping it will help him get through the first few weeks without any issues. His IEP meeting is scheduled for 9/10, so we'll get deep at that point! :)

Other than that, we are doing our best to get Elijah as much sleep as possible (some nights are better than others) and make him feel as safe as possible as we prepare for a new school year. We might spend a night at the dropzone this coming weekend, but we plan to lay low these next few days before school begins.

Thanks for checking in! I hope you're all having a great week!

Sunday, August 24, 2014

Blue skies

It's Sunday night! These summer weeks keep flying right on by. The little boys and I arrived home from the dropzone a few hours ago. We spent the weekend there, waiting on clouds to clear from the humid sky. My heart mama friend Amber (her house was one of the ones the boys and I stayed at on our big road trip last summer) and her oldest son Caleb drove all the way from Indiana to go skydiving with my awesome and super-cute hubby, Dan!

Saturday was frustrating. Low, solid clouds hung around all day long. Then at the verrrry end of the day the clouds parted above us. But the pilot had left! This morning we saw much of the same. Low clouds loomed overhead until 1:00 when they parted and Amber and Caleb were able to go skydiving! Yayyy! Afterward they sped off toward home with adrenaline running through their veins. 


It felt so good to spend time with this awesome friend. She is an incredible woman, mother and friend. We have traveled such similar paths in so many ways, so there is that bond that cannot be explained. Just like skydiving.

We have one week left of summer, so we plan to make the most of it! State Fair and time with my little boys lie ahead. I hope you all had a great weekend! Enjoy these last HOT bits of summer!

Tuesday, August 19, 2014

Posing with T-Rex

Here are a few pics from last week when E's kindergarten teacher made a skydive! Can you tell Elijah loves her? (Oops, Koda the dog photo-bombed this one.)


Time for silly faces?! :)


See that spot in the sky? That's Dan and Jen! Her hubby and sweet baby girl were watching them closely.


Perfect sunset landing! 


And today we took a totally impromptu trip to Valleyfair! The other night I remembered that one of the very generous gifts we have been given as a Wish Family is a year's worth of free admission (1x at each place) to MANY amusement parks across the country. Since there aren't many days left in the summer that could work, Dan and I decided we would go to Valleyfair today...at the very last minute. Thank you, GKTW! The boys were sooooo excited. They were squealing and jumping up and down when we told them where we were going. It was their first time ever! We live a few miles from VF, so we've seen it many many times but have just never gone as a family.

We were given a few "extras," as GKTW is known to do. Elijah got a Snoopy stuffed animal and we also got access into the Dinosaurs Attack part of the park. Sam was afraid of some of it, but the boys seemed to enjoy it overall.

Here are my three boys, totally unique in their responses to "Pose in front of the T-Rex for me!"

Elijah: ALL SMILES and totally agreeable as he poses perfectly, looking straight at the camera. (my literal guy)


Sammy: Puts his hands in front of his face as he says, "NEVER EVER." (my independent guy)


Dan: Makes fun of the poor T-Rex's short arms. :)  (my silly guy)


We explored Planet Snoopy and the boys were able to ride a lot of the rides in that area. They had such a blast! We will try to get to VF as a family once/year.


Whoa, what?! Sammy actually posed with Elijah and Snoopy?? This was a small miracle and I was downright shocked as I took this photo. Notice the lump in his cheek? Yeah, that's a mini donut.


The ferris wheel was one of Sammy's picks and he LOVED it. We love riding this ride together as a family whenever we see one. Elijah's analysis of the VF version: "It's pretty slow, but it was fun."


Elijah was super excited to see the T-Rex and wanted to pose with the sign. He was very interested in learning about where each dinosaur lived. "Ohhh! This one lived in Asia, Mom!" "Hmm, he was from Utah!" "Oh my, this guy lived in BRAZIL!"


Dan and I analyzed every little thing about Elijah today. After 30 minutes of being at the park he appeared overwhelmed, confused and exhausted from all of the different stimuli bombarding his brain. We both saw it and adjusted our behavior a bit to try to help. At one point we were waiting to get on the ferris wheel and Elijah started screaming about the line (there were 2 people in front of us) and how long it was and how long it was going to take and on and on. Then he said, "Give me a Mama Mountain!" This is his way of telling me that he wants me to give him a piggy-back ride. We weren't even moving and there was nowhere for us to go, so I calmly told him that it wasn't an appropriate time to do a Mama Mountain. He has been asking for these quite a bit lately at very random times, so Dan and I chatted quick while standing in line and concluded that maybe he just wanted to be physically close (safe) when he feels out of control. From that point on, I started giving him big squeezes/hugs whenever I could. I think it helped because overall he did GREAT today. He started to unravel a few times, but pulled it together and did so well. Dan and I were both super impressed and surprised at the end of the day. He even made it to PT/OT in the late afternoon and had great behavior there, as well. Success!

We ended our time at Valleyfair by stopping by the age-guessing booth. I always stump them and I win an animal for the boys every single time. :)

We have E's second Fraser appointment tomorrow! Also a bit of fun and work and errands, etc. Thanks for checking in!