Monday, March 31, 2008


I feel extra glum today. Maybe part of the reason for it is this...

Yes! More winter!

Or maybe it's because Elijah is in fact sick again. Poor kid, he has a snotty, clogged nose and he has a temp and he keeps sneezing and you can tell that he just doesn't feel well. We have been trying so hard to keep him away from germs. I guess now we will have to be in full quarantine mode because I certainly don't want to postpone surgery. Please pray for quick healing for our boy! And for sanity for us, as we will be confined to our house for the next 15 days.

As I wrote yesterday, I have been feeling pretty sad and weak lately. Something Dan and I try to do every week is take turns picking a Bible verse that we feel is appropriate for the week and talk about it. Well this week it is my turn, so I think these are the perfect verses for me (us) to ponder:

2 Corinthians 12:10
"Therefore I take pleasure in infirmities, in reproaches, in necessities, in persecutions, in distresses for Christ's sake: for when I am weak, then am I strong."

Isaiah 40:31
"But they that wait upon the Lord shall renew their strength; they shall mount up with wings as eagles; they shall run, and not be weary; and they shall walk, and not faint."

On another note, our insurance company decided that Elijah doesn't need his RSV shot this month, which is completely ridiculous, so we are doing what we can to get that approved. We have not been a huge fan of Health Partners since we switched over this year. What? You want to keep your baby from getting RSV before he has open heart surgery? DENIED! That makes total sense.

One cute thing to share, since this post is filled with blah-ness. Elijah still has not said the D sound. Every day, I say to him, "Elijah, say 'Dada,'" and lately he will pause, look at me, and say, "Baba!" Then I'll say, "Ok, now say 'Mama,'" and even though he DOES know how to say the M sound, he will pause, look at me, and say, "Baba!"

Sunday, March 30, 2008

45 degrees is WARM

This was the view out our window last Sunday...

This is what we did today...

Elijah loved the swing! This was his first time to try it out and he was in heaven. The high today was 45 degrees, and that was amazingly warm for us. Finally we get a glimpse of spring! AAAAaaaaaahhhhh, I can't wait for warmer weather. This winter has been particularly harsh and LONG and we are very ready for a change of seasons here in arctic Minnesota.

Let's see, what has been going on with us...well, Dan has been trying out some new styles...

and Elijah has been getting very tired, very early in the evening. He never falls asleep in my arms like this.

And Elijah's toy box has been throwing up toys..

Oh and Elijah has been throwing up, too. We have no idea why. Maybe new teeth? Maybe a sickness? We don't know. He had a 99.5-degree temperature this morning, but aside from this and a few small throw-up sessions, we see nothing unusual. I guess we will keep an eye on things and see what happens. We are PRAYING for no sickness before surgery. We need our man to stay healthy!

I've admittedly been pretty sad lately. I've been crying a lot at night because that's when I think about surgery and what is to come in the next few weeks. I spend every possible moment with my chunky monkey and I've been loving on him and smooching his chubby neck as much as possible. I'm just really anxious about surgery this time around. I don't feel the same strength I felt the last time. I'm praying that will change.

Thanks for checking in on us. I have some cute Elijah stories to share but I'll save them for another post. Thanks for all of the prayers. We love all of our friends and family so much! xoxoxoxoxoxoxo

Friday, March 28, 2008

Thursday, March 27, 2008

Our silly boy

The Moga Smile

Dan and I are reading a book about pediatric heart surgeons and guess who is in the book?? Elijah's very own surgeon, Dr. Moga! We already knew he was smart and nice, but this book confirms what an amazing surgeon he is and what a kind, compassionate person he is on top of that. In the book, the author refers to The Moga Smile, and if you've ever met Dr. Moga you know exactly what that means. I guess we've got Moga on the brain since we'll be seeing him in LESS THAN THREE WEEKS. AAGHGHGghhhh, that is way too soon.

Tuesday, March 25, 2008

No Easter this year

I didn't write an Easter update because Elijah and I stayed home and didn't do much. We decided that we want to keep him away from little kid germs until after his surgery just to be on the safe side. So Dan went to church and went to his parents' house for dinner without us, but at least we were able to enjoy (and still are enjoying) some yummy leftovers! A very good friend of mine from Phoenix, Laurie, came into town for a last-minute business trip, so she was able to spend some time with us last weekend. I haven't seen her since our wedding two years ago! And this was the first time she has met Elijah. I think you should move to MN, Laurie! I miss you so much! I know how much you love the weather here.

Elijah has been good. He has gotten over his cold, thankfully. Let's hope it stays that way. He has been a feisty guy these past few days. He's going through some sort of developmental growth spurt right now. He's suddenly being a bit choosy about what food he eats (if you know me, you know how much picky eaters BUG ME, so let's hope it's just a phase) and he just has an all-around feistiness about him that he's never had before. He has been making this scrunchy face that cracks us up. He usually does it when we're feeding him. I have it on video and will TRY to find time to upload that in the next few days.

I have another crazy busy week at work so this week is already insane. I think it's meant to be this way so we don't have to think too much about surgery?!

Friday, March 21, 2008

13 months old (yesterday)!

Click on images to enlarge.

Thursday, March 20, 2008

Tax day it shall be

We have a surgery date set! April 15th! Having this date is terrifying, yet somehow it's relieving. That gives us 3.5 weeks to emotionally prepare. I will be spending every possible waking, non-working second with my chubster. In fact, I think I'll run home to squeeze him right now.

I must admit, we're a bit bummed because of this situation, but really, what does that matter? Nothing! Elijah is all that matters and April 15th is his day to be a star, and that's that!

Here we go with the countdown. Yikes!

p.s. He's doing much better today! His gunk magically got TONS better overnight and he woke up his happy, cheery self. He's home with Daddy today, getting lots of rest and food. What a strong boy. I'm so proud of him.

Wednesday, March 19, 2008

We are home

We just got home and settled in. We spent Elijah's last 6 hours in the hospital taking turns holding him in the rocking chair (because that was the only way he was mildly happy). He was a pretty crabby boy and he was VERY congested. I think last week's cold compounded with the breathing tube down his throat for a few hours all made a bunch of gunk settle in his little chest. I've never heard him so gunky before! He gulped down a bunch of apple juice and even some milk in the hospital. Oh, and about a million graham crackers. His sats stayed right around 70% and he didn't throw up once, so they sent us home! Yay!

Tomorrow we will get an official surgery date that will probably be between two and three weeks from now. SCARY! Can you believe it? I can't believe it! It has all happened so fast! But what do we expect with our man, right? He does EVERYTHING sooner than expected because he's so awesome!

Elijah really was such a brave, strong boy today. What a little champ. He endured the poking and prodding very well and I'm very proud of him.

We got him home from the hospital and put him straight to bed. He was totally beat. He sounds SO GUNKY as he breathes, even when he's sound asleep. I hate it. It makes me nervous. I've never heard this level of gunkiness before! I don't think I'll be sleeping much tonight. Oh I can't wait to go to work in the morning!

Ok, here are some pics from the day. I have so much more love and respect for our amazing man after today. The things he goes through! He is incredible!

Bubbles! The savior of the morning, pre-cath. I am totally going to Target and buying bucketloads of bubbles.

There's a story here. (I had something else written here about this picture but Dan deleted it and threatened bad things if I rewrote it! How rude!) While we were in recovery today, Elijah HAD to be holding onto something at all times with his left hand (the only arm not occupied with IVs and wires). First it was the collar of my coat.

Then it was a cracker. If the cracker fell from his hand, he TOTALLY FREAKED OUT.

Then it was my cell phone. If the cell phone left his hand, he TOTALLY TOTALLY FREAKED OUT. It must have been a comfort thing? (Notice his red face in this pic. It was a delayed side effect from one of the medications he received while in the cath lab.)

Ok Daddy, my milk is way better than any of those things!

The scoop

Based on everything seen today and Elijah's quickly dropping O2 sats, surgery is near! Like, TWO WEEKS near. We'll set an official date tomorrow. TWO WEEKS?!?!? Someone give me drugs! We're actually very much looking forward to getting past the surgery, but obviously the surgery itself we are dreading a bit.

Hopefully we'll get to see our man in just a bit here. And we're still optimistic about going home tonight. Thanks for checking in!

(If you haven't already, scroll down to see some cute pics. And for more, click on the Photos tab at the top of the page.)


We just got another call, the boy is doing good and they are done with the procedure. The nurse said they put 2 more coils in his arteries to stop some duplicate blood flow (the same area they coiled at his last cath) and ballooned another narrow artery. They'll do another echo (if they can find someone quick) while he's under and then they'll wake him up. Hopefully Elijah will come out of anesthesia without any issues and eat well so we can go home!

ps. Megan is a hottie, Arrrroooooooooooooooo!

Still waiting (and some pics!)

We got a phone call from the OR at about 10:40 and they had just gotten the catheter inserted into the vein (probably took so long because of the chub on those legs!). Everything up to that point was going fine and Elijah was resting under anesthesia comfortably. Hopefully we'll get more info soon.

In the meantime, here is a teaser for Elijah's 1-year photos. They turned out sooo cute! I'll get the rest of them uploaded to our Shutterfly account soon.

To make the slides move faster, click on the + button on the bottom left corner.

Heading in

They just took our little man back to the cath lab. Dr. Gremmels said the procedure could take anywhere from 2-5 hours, depending on what they will need to do while they are inside, or if they will just be taking pictures. We're hoping for two hours!

They had to take blood and miraculously, they found a vein on the FIRST TRY, but he still didn't like it too much. I can't blame him.

So now we wait! We will update as soon as we hear any news.

Tuesday, March 18, 2008

Cath tomorrow

Elijah passed his pre-op physical today, so we are heading to Children's early in the morning for his heart cath with the wonderful Dr. Gremmels. One thing that surprised me at today's visit? His sats are now at 69-71%! What? So fast? Just last week they were at 73%! I guess we'll find out more details about what's going on tomorrow. Please say some prayers for our little man. He has been sooo clingy lately and I'm worried that he's going to have a stranger breakdown in the hospital. Also, we want good results from the cath and to come home tomorrow night!

Thanks for checking in! We'll keep you posted tomorrow.

Sunday, March 16, 2008

Busy weekend

We had a busy weekend! Saturday I took my boys to a Tastefully Simple party (because I can't stand to part with them on the weekends). Luckily, Dan is good friends with the host's boyfriend, so the boys bonded in the kitchen while the girls sampled food and spent money in the living room. Saturday evening we headed to our good friends Ronda and Andrew's house for the night. We celebrated St. Patty's Day! Elijah even got to wear the famous green Porta hat. We had a really good time. This morning we drove home from The Picks' house and for the first time in a long time, headed to church! After church the three of us went out for a spontaneous lunch at the Green Mill. We went home for a long family nap and then went to the Mall of America to meet the awesome Eric, Ellen and Leo, some good skydiving friends of ours. Leo was so cute, sharing his crackers with Elijah. Now Elijah is sleeping and Dan and I are having some down time before bed. We have a big week ahead, with his heart cath on Wednesday. I'm totally dreading it because of the SEVERE separation anxiety E has been displaying lately. I guess we'll see how it goes. Thanks for checking in on us. We appreciate your love and prayers!!

Elijah checking out Ronda and Andrew's cool stained glass elephant lamp

Mommy, what is on my head? (Ellen, do you recognize my shirt??)

Jess taking on the persona of Elvis

Green beer!

Cute Ronda and Andrew pic(k)

Elijah playing with his new toys from Auntie Carolyn and family. He loooooves the drum and tambourine!

Thursday, March 13, 2008

Proper banana storage

Elijah is still sick, but I believe he may be on the upswing. Dan stayed home with him Monday through Wednesday of this week in an attempt to get him healthy as quickly as possible. As some of you out there may know, staying home with a baby by yourself for multiple days in a row is no easy task, emotionally and otherwise. It gets really draining (no offense, Elijah, you're so totally worth it!), especially when that baby is sick. A few nights ago I opened the silverware drawer to get a spoon, only to find a half of a banana mingled in with the steak knives. I showed Dan my finding and he looked at me glassy-eyed and said, "What?! I was trying to increase the life span of the banana!" I've been teasing him about it all week. Elijah, ease up on the poor daddy, you're making him weary. :)

Right now our poor boy has the reddest butt I've ever seen. Last night when I put him in the bath he screamed bloody murder. The water must have stung his poor bum to pieces. We got some magic cream from the doctor so hopefully that will work quickly!

Have I mentioned the recent increase in clinginess? He is one clingy kid these days. I don't know if it's because he's sick or because it's just that age or both, but he needs one or both of us touching him if anyone else is within twenty feet of us. His one year photo session was quite a challenge last weekend and Dan said he had a complete meltdown at the doctor's office yesterday. Just when we have some hospital time ahead! Ahhhhh yes, it should be interesting.

Assuming he keeps getting better, we're still on for the cath next Wednesday. Please keep our sweet chunky man in your prayers. We want a healthy boy on Wednesday and good results from the cath! Thanks for checking in on us!

Wednesday, March 12, 2008


I've gotten a few emails from people about something that I'd like to bring up here. This year we are walking in, and raising money for, the American Heart Association Heart Walk that is taking place here in Mpls. Some people have expressed that we should NOT be supporting the AHA because they don't put all of their money toward children's research.

Yes, a small percentage does go toward children, but a "small percentage" for the AHA isn't peanuts. Yes, I realize that there are other organizations who put ALL of their money towards children's research (I love Children's Heart Foundation and we do donate $$ to them!) and yes, I realize that the AHA has a lot more ground to cover when spreading out their resources.

Not only are we doing this walk in honor of Elijah, but also in honor of Dan's dad, who also has heart disease and who has dealt with a lot in his life because of it (and he's not overweight and he's not a smoker). Dan's grandpa died at 42 from a heart attack (not overweight and not a smoker) and no one ever knew he had heart disease! Sooo.....I'm sorry if our involvement in the Heart Walk has offended those of you who "hate" the AHA, but unfortunately, as Portas, this organization is and will be an important part of our lives forever.

Besides, it's fun to gather friends and family and walk in honor of the people who are beating the disease!

I apologize for the hostile post, but really?! I was a little shocked to get ripped apart for trying to do a good thing and support a good cause. It's amazing that people would try to make me feel bad about that.

With that all said, please help us out, if you feel so inclined! We're excited to see all of you who can make it on April 26th. We're trying to come up with fun t-shirt ideas. If you have a good idea, please share!

Tuesday, March 11, 2008

Ways to tell when Elijah is sick

- He wakes up in the morning with dried snot all over his face.

- We have to get up in the middle of the night to suction boogs and give him a nebulizer treatment because he sounds like darth vader when he breathes.

- He won't eat. Not even cottage cheese!

- He freaks out if Mama walks more than two feet away from him.

- He cries when I give him a bath.

I'm just hoping it's not too bad of a sickness. His heart cath is a week from tomorrow and we need him to be healthy for that. He's at home with Daddy today, so hopefully he can get lots of rest and start feeling better. Aside from that, not much is going on with us. We're anxious to get this cath out of the way so we can have a better idea of what lies in store and when. Somehow, for me, it's easier having a date and plan in mind, rather than having a floating, approximate date that could span anywhere over two months.

Two of my heart babies, Emma and Grace, are having big surgeries this week, so please keep them in your prayers.

Friday, March 7, 2008

Maybe, maybe not

This week has been pretty boring. Boring is good around here. I'm finally getting over this yucky cold. Just in time for the weekend, yay! Elijah has had a low-key week. He got his RSV shot on Wednesday and didn't like that too much. It seems like they should get easier every time, but instead they get more difficult for him. He was 23 lbs. when the nurse weighed him. Chunky boy!

I think Elijah is still catching up on sleep from our trip. We've been putting him to bed at 6:00 every night this week and he is still tired during the day. It's so crazy how this sleep thing works. If he falls asleep a minute after 6:15p, he wakes up very early (between 4:30 and 5:15ish) in the morning. But if he is sleeping before 6:15p, he sleeps soundly until 6:00a. This seems so counterintuitive, but the earlier to bed, the longer the sleep. When he is in catch-up mode like he is now, we shoot for 6:00p as a bedtime until he seems to be somewhat caught up.

I have been hesitant to mention this topic because I haven't wanted to jinx anything, but I don't really believe in jinxing, so.... The awesome company that I work for sends its employees (and spouses) to an off-site sales meeting once a year. In the past I've been fortunate enough to go to places like San Diego, Jamaica and Scottsdale for these meetings. Last year we missed the Grand Cayman meetings because it fell right in the middle of some serious Elijah stuff, so we have been joking that Elijah is going to make sure we don't go to this year's destination, either. Oh, you're wondering where that might be? Ohhh just boring old Maui. Back when we booked the tickets (yes, the tickets are booked!), we were confident that Elijah's surgery would happen much later and that it wouldn't interfere with the Maui dates. Well, now we're not so sure. The sales meeting runs from April 30th to May 4th (we're booked to stay till the 6th), and from the way things are falling into place, it seems like his surgery might be right around that time.

We were originally planning on bringing Elijah with us (and my sister Lissa to watch him while we went to mandatory events), but now it looks like if we are able to go, we would probably just leave him behind. Lissa, do you want a baby at your house for a few days? :) I really don't like being away from him for that long, and I'll probably cry for the first two days (the last time we left him for an extended time, last August when we went to Vegas, I was a complete crazy, nutty wreck for the first 24 hours), but we can't justify risking his health in any way being so close to OHS.

In the grand scope of things, going to Maui doesn't really matter. We're obviously much more concerned about our son and his health and recovery. That is the bottom line. But, wouldn't a trip to Maui be nice? We've had a very long, stressful year, and a long, cold winter (that is not over) so this would just be nice. If it's not in the plan, then that's fine. If it is, YAY MAUI!

p.s. If we went, we'd be staying at this dump.

Wednesday, March 5, 2008

What is unusual about this photo?

Click here to see the original. Tell me what I did to the photo!

Yes, I switched the eyes (and eyebrows). Elijah has my eyes and I have his!

Monday, March 3, 2008

We're home, Mama is sick and Elijah is not

I was worried about Elijah getting sick on vacation but it was ME who ended up getting sick! I woke up Sunday morning not feeling the greatest, but our frenzied day of travels made me mostly forget about it. It is HARD WORK traveling with a one year old. We had quite an eventful day on Sunday. We made our connecting flight in Cleveland (Elijah says, "Yay Indians! Don't tell my daddy I said that, Grandpa!") by a minute and lugged our luggage and a baby around with us and did everything in our power to keep him happy for seven straight hours. It was a tiring day, to say the least. This morning I woke up feeling like poo. I even stayed home from work and slept most of the day. I still don't feel wonderful, but I am feeling better.

I did manage to sit in on Elijah's session with his OT this afternoon. I'm glad I was there because the OT had nothing but reassuring things to say about his progress. When we told her that his O2 sats were running between 72-74%, she said, "WELL! It's no wonder the kid doesn't want to move anywhere. He doesn't have the energy!" She said his cognitive, social and speech skills are super and that, aside from gross motor, he is right where he should be. Moving around a lot is TOO MUCH for him right now. It's out of the question, actually. 70ish% sats are very low! It is very hard to function on that amount of oxygen running through your blood. He is conserving his energy, understandably. We have known this, but it was good to hear it from a professional. We're not going to push him to accomplish gross motor milestones until after he has had a chance to recover from surgery.

Elijah was a good boy on our trip. We do think he is getting his molars, although we don't know for sure because every time we try to look in his mouth he freaks out. He threw up once more on Saturday but hasn't thrown up since and has otherwise been just fine. We're not sure why, but he woke up EARLY every morning we were in Miami. I mean, early! A couple mornings he was up at 4:30! Needless to say, Dan and I (and Elijah) came home extremely sleep-deprived. Maybe that played a part in me getting sick, who knows.

We love to travel, so it is always hard coming home. It is good to be home, though. Ooohhhhh, we miss the beach! We're already planning where our next journey might be.

Some of our last pics taken in Miami:

Precious face

This is the only picture we got of him with his butt on the sand. He didn't like it. Can you see the little black eye? He fell on a hard toy in the hotel room and it poked him right in the face.

Hammock time with Daddy.