Friday, January 30, 2009


Last night I took Elijah to his Thursday physical/speech therapy. The past few times have really been breakthrough sessions for him. No more tears when the PT tries to move him ONE INCH out of his comfort zone. No more crawling over to Mama every 15 seconds. He really has seemed like a big boy to me lately, and he has been making a ton of progress, too. Last night they got him to take sideways steps ON HIS OWN, while holding onto the edge of a table. This is a first! Of course, there had to be incentive. What could possibly appeal to him so much that he would take steps without being forced? TRUCKS, of course!

They had this really cool toy truck track with three trucks that drove around inside of it and it was love at first sight! When he first saw them, I happened to be standing behind him holding onto his hands. He immediately tried to RUN over to them, but that didn't work out well so we tripped over each other and fell to the floor. Honestly, I've never seen him so smitten before. During the session, I was sitting there watching him, amazed at the progress that was unfolding before my eyes. Then I had the thought...Hmmmmm, anything he loves enough to willingly take steps for is going to be hard to tear him away from. Uh oh.

And I was right. When we were finished and he knew it was time to leave the beloved trucks, an instant MAJOR tantrum erupted. So far, it was my most embarrassing public parenting moment. The tantrum was so bad that I had absolutely no idea what to do. I'm pretty sure I disengaged from reality and became comatose for a few moments. His physical therapist, speech therapist, speech therapist assistant and I all stood there watching it. After what seemed like forever, I picked Elijah up and told him it was time to go home. He arched his back so violently and quickly that he flopped over my arm and hit his head on a stool. He continued to flop around on the floor and scream and kick and hit. I sat him up again and put his coat on.

He calmed down immediately when his very nice PT found a truck that he could take home with him. I kind of wish she wouldn't have done this, but I certainly wasn't going to start fresh with Meltdown #2 by taking it away. He grabbed the truck from her, smiled instantly, and looked at me like, HI Mama! We're having fun, right?! The front half of the car was quiet on the drive home.

Later we went to Dan's sister's house to celebrate his mom's birthday and Elijah swatted his little 1-yr-old cousin because I was holding her in my lap. Mr. Attitude has some things to learn about "pecking order," as Dan says.

Wednesday, January 28, 2009


Poor Elijah has such strange parents. This is what happens when Dan and I spend time together..

Dan decided it was his destiny to flee to the woods to live as one with nature..

There he goes, being called to his home land..

He begins to tear the societal restraints from his body..

When he remembers his earthly obligations..his wife, his child, his family...and he turns around..

Cartwheel time

My form is way better

Where's Dan?

I think we were trying to see if Dan could get me in mid-air. It worked!

This was supposed to be our spooky pic, with the mansion in the background and Dan appearing to be some sort of animalistic being crouched in the tree..

The Mary Tyler Moore shot

See? I told you we were weird.

Tuesday, January 27, 2009

Important time

We don't spend nights away from Elijah very often, but when we do, it is pretty difficult for me. I don't like being away from him. I always feel like I'm missing a limb. However. I do strongly believe that it is healthy to be away from him on occasion. Dan and I make it a priority to have Overnight Babyless Time a couple times a year. As much as I miss Elijah when we do this, it is always such a nice little refresher for us as a couple and I come back feeling like Dan and I could take on the world.

We are fortunate enough to have family members who offer to help out with caring for Elijah while we get away. I am very grateful for this. My sister Lissa has been an eager overnight babysitter for us many times. Dan's parents have also helped out, and now we can say that my dad and stepmom have, too!

While we were visiting them last week, we saw an opportunity to get away for a few nights. My parents were doting over Elijah more than I've ever seen anyone dote before, so I'm thinking they were more than happy to shoo us out of the house for a while.

We drove two hours into the mountains of North Carolina to visit the town of Asheville. It was beautiful, wonderful, peaceful, gorgeous.. We stayed for two nights, and we had an amazing time. I still feel like I'm on my Asheville high. I am seeing Dan a little bit differently than I did before we left for our trip. I keep reminding myself that we don't always have to take life so seriously, as I think about being weird and silly with my hubby just a few days ago. It is really easy to get caught up in the repetition of life. For us, having these away times is hugely important.

You may have heard of the Biltmore Estate. We spent most of our trip time touring the house and the grounds and even the winery. All of it is breathtaking. Our time there is something I will never ever forget. This is a photo of the Biltmore land as we drove up the road toward the mansion. The land takes up 8,000 acres and once upon a time took up 125,000 acres!

The winery was really cool. We were able to sample a few of the wines and Dan and I each walked away with our favorite bottle in hand.

There is a little farming area where you can see equipment that was used 100 years ago. The Biltmore has always grown its own crops and even raised its own animals. It was a very self-sufficient estate.

The huge trees are sooo beautiful..

This is the front of the Biltmore house. We were unable to take pics inside, but let me just say that this house is unbelievable. The innovation that took place in the time it was built is amazing. Everything inside the house is over the top excessive, especially for the year 1895, but wow...totally unique and GORGEOUS! The house has a total of 250 rooms and even has a swimming pool and a bowling alley in the basement.

Outside view of the grand staircase

View from the back of the house

This is the conservatory. I didn't take many photos of the many gardens because there isn't much growing in them right now, but I imagine in the spring they are gorgeous.

Resting. There are a ton of walking trails around the house, so we took advantage of those.

Kissy picture :)

Bass Pond. It was covered with a thin layer of ice (that my crazy husband stood on). It is so pretty! Spending time walking around this pond was like a little slice of heaven.

We sat at the bottom of the waterfall that runs off of Bass Pond for a long long time. It was one of the most peaceful moments of the trip. See the rainbow?

A little Bass Pond peninsula..

The trees and plants are all so unique and beautiful. I took 400+ pictures! Then my camera batteries died and I realized the charger was AT HOME! Oh well, I think 400 is plenty.

Tomorrow will be the Silly Photos installment. You'll get to see how very weird Dan and I are. Elijah, you have some very strange parents!

Monday, January 26, 2009

Family love

Aside from Dan's and my little getaway to Asheville (more on that tomorrow), we mostly just hung out with my parents and brother and we stayed pretty close to home while we were in Charlotte. We played games in the evenings after Elijah went to bed. My brother made us some very yummy, elaborate meals and desserts that put a few extra pounds on my already extra pounded body. I ate an entire (huge) bag of M&M's within the first 24 hours we were there. Dan and I took a nap almost every afternoon. I finished one book and started another. Dan did a lot of reading about Abe Lincoln. We took a few walks on a scenic path near their house. Elijah got A TON of love from Grammie, Gramps and Uncle Joel, and even from some complete strangers (strangers to us, anyway).

Yes, it snowed while we were there. Of course it did! It stayed pretty warm, though, so we didn't have any complaints. Well, warm for us. Everyone in Charlotte was freezing, but we thought it was heavenly!

Saying "HHIIIIIiiiiiiiiii!!" for probably the 236,439th time that day..

One of the things I realized after this trip was how much I love watching other people wholeheartedly loving my son. Of course Dan and I love Elijah with all our hearts and we are always eager to tell funny Elijah stories and dote on his every word and action. This is expected of us because we are his parents and that's what parents do. Seeing my family love him in this same way means so much to me. I am so happy that Elijah is surrounded by such a loving family. So many people love him and think he is the most wonderful thing on the planet, and that brings me a lot of happiness. Because, well...he IS the most wonderful thing on the planet!

Enjoying a book by the fire...while standing!

A really big treat for us was meeting Mike and Michelle. We have been following each others' blogs for quite a while now. They have a son with some heart/health problems, so we can relate to each other in a lot of ways. They live about an hour north of Charlotte and came down for an NBA game one afternoon, so we met them afterward for dinner. They are such nice people, and so inspiring. It was really fun to get to know them. They were even generous enough to give Elijah a new truck book, which he LOVES.

We have this same book at home and Elijah did the same thing to Grammie's copy that he did to ours....he bit Jesus' head off. Poor Jesus doesn't have part of his head and face!

Elijah absolutely loved G'ma and G'pa's house. So many new things to explore! One of his favorite spots was the pantry (when he wasn't obsessed with the door of the pantry). He discovered the bag of potatoes in there and loved hiding them in various cupboards around the kitchen. In this picture he is hugging his beloved potato. A few minutes later, he was dipping it into the dog's water dish.

This is the face he makes when he says, "Go! Go! Go! Go! Go! Go!" I don't know if that's what he means to say, but that's what it sounds like...and it's the cutest thing.

Snuggle Time with Grandpa before bed. I love this pic. Oh, and there's Uncle Joel in the background slaving over another awesome meal for us.

Juan the Puppy wasn't so sure of this little person in the house who was getting all of the attention. He made sure to let everyone know he was still around. I'm sure he was happy to say goodbye to the Portas!

Sunday, January 25, 2009

We're back!

Reading his alphabet books (by the way, he now knows every letter of the alphabet!) in Grandma and Grandpa's living room

Just a quick note to let everyone know we are alive. We had an amazing vacation and we are spending the afternoon back at home today recuperating from travels....and cleaning mold out of Elijah's room (a fun little surprise to come home to). Anyway, for now I'll post a few pics from our trip. We took soooo many, so I'll post a few every day this week. Trip details to come, when I'm feeling a little more rested and normal..

It was -4 degrees when our plane landed this morning. Back to the cold!

Hanging out with the best grandma and grandpa in the world

Elijah and Grandma reading a story

Piano time with Grammie! This was soooo adorable..

My dad and stepmom are giving Elijah this cute little table and chair to use for drawing, coloring, etc. They are a perfect fit for him. It looks like he's preparing for an important lesson at school.

Homework? Uhhh, I don't think so..

Friday, January 16, 2009

Warmth, please

We have mere hours left in arctic Minnesota. It was -21 degrees on my drive to work this morning, and that is just a little too cold for me. We are looking forward to spending time in a tolerable climate for a few days. Our flight leaves tomorrow at 1:30 and we haven't even started packing yet. This is usually how we do things. Even though we are last-minute packers, we usually don't forget anything! We have so many fun things to look forward to on this trip. I will capture as much of it as possible in writing and on our camera.

Elijah has been so fun to be around this week. He makes us laugh all the time. He started sprint-crawling and it cracks me up. When he has his heart set on getting somewhere quickly, he crawls like he's in a very competitive race. It's so funny to see his little arms and legs moving so fast and his little bum going from side to side. He has been so fun and bubbly and full of personality lately. We haven't even had too many tantrums this week. Hopefully our vacation will be just as pleasant and tantrum-free.

Have a great weekend! We'll update next from North Carolina, where are fingers will have had a chance to thaw out.

Tuesday, January 13, 2009


(Sarah, I got this idea from your recent post!)

Elijah seems to have such a creative mind and a vivid imagination. Of course, since he can't talk yet I don't know this for sure, but it really seems to be the case. He constantly jabbers to himself in an animated tone with lots of inflection and unique sounds. Sometimes his fingers/hands talk to each other, sometimes they talk to him and sometimes they talk to objects around him. His hands like to "sit" in his toy cars/trucks while his fingers talk to him as they drive. I cannot imagine what must be going on in his mind, but it is so interesting to watch and listen to all of this.

I wonder if this sort of thing is genetic. If Elijah is anything like me, he is in for a lifetime of weirdness. :) I discovered my group of imaginary friends at a very young age: Mimi, Tenspeed, Vodka (no idea where I got this name as a 2-year-old) and Susie. To this day I could draw a picture of what each of them look like, in detail. Mimi was the leader and she occasionally liked to drive the other three across the country in her white van to go on vacations. While they were away on their journeys I would get sad and miss them. My little team of invisible pals was the first sign that my imagination was a little bit crazy. Then other things came.. When my dad would take a few minutes too long in the store (which was and still is common...right, family?), I would sit in the car and imagine Bert and Ernie's evil twins coming into the store through the ceiling in a spaceship and abducting him. By the time he got back to the car I would be sobbing crazily, believing he was already a resident of Evil Sesame Street. I have also always had super vivid, crazy dreams. I still vividly remember dreams I had when I was three years old. Now, years later, and having practiced a lot, I can do some pretty cool stuff in my dreams. I can control dreams...I can go skydiving and flying whenever I want to, and I can do lots of other things that I won't mention because you'll really think I'm insane. I once even talked to Elijah as an adult in a dream (very cool)!

Now that you all know I'm crazy.. I've been wondering lately if Elijah will have a vivid imagination, too, and if some day he will be telling his friends and family about the time he convinced himself that his mom was a vampire.

Did anyone else have imaginary friends? Anyone else whose imagination convinces them of impossible things? Am I the only weird one? Share your stories! (If there are no stories, I'll check myself in..)

Monday, January 12, 2009


Happy bath boy

I'm pretty sure there's no cuter face than this

Dan spent the past weekend up north in the woods being manly with his friends, so Elijah and I were able to do a few fun things and spend some quality time with each other. We had a really nice weekend. We got out to see some friends and we also had a lot of home time. I got more cleaning and organizing done, yay! I love that I finally have time and energy for this. It feels like I've been in a coma for the past...oh, two years.

One of Elijah's new things is to hug everything in sight. He squints his eyes and makes a little "Nnnnnnnnn" sound every time he hugs. Here he is hugging his favorite letter Q.

This week we are focusing on taking care of some house issues (not good to have a heater that isn't working properly when it's not supposed to get above zero degrees any time soon) since we are leaving on Saturday for eight days. We are flying to Charlotte to visit my dad, stepmom and little brother. We can't wait! We only get to see them maybe once or twice a year, so this is a treat for us. They are always amazing hosts..they feed us until we're plump and let us catch up on sleep and show us around the town. Elijah is ready to love them all up!

Holding onto another favorite letter, G

As an extra treat, my dad and stepmom have graciously agreed to watch Elijah for two nights next week while Dan and I drive into the mountains to stay in Asheville, NC. We plan on spending one of those days touring the Biltmore Mansion. We couldn't be more excited about this little part of our trip. I love old architecture and mansions and the mountains and exploring new towns...and of course, quality Dan-Megan time.

Here is a photo that is sure to brighten anyone's day. This is what Dan's friends got to look at all weekend. Isn't the 'stache lovely? You can barely see Elijah's little head at the bottom of the photo, looking up at Dan like, WHOA!