Friday, July 31, 2009


Go check out this very cool giveaway! This sweet couple is trying to get their sweet Korean baby girl home, and in the process of raising funds they are giving away some really nice things.

Thursday, July 30, 2009

Let sleeping dogs lie (i.e., let happy little boys be happy little boys)

Sighing hugely.

Dan and I took Elijah to see his genetics doctor this morning for a follow-up visit. We hadn't seen her since April, so we caught her up on all that has happened over the past few months. Elijah's ENT doctor had spoken with her since he saw Elijah in his office last week and he shared some concerns with her. His ENT doc feels that Elijah might be some form of a "little person" based on his short arms, big head and short stature. His genetics doc disagrees with him. She thinks that although Elijah is indeed a very short person, he does not look disproportionate.

She wants to run three more tests. A urine test to check...I honestly can't remember. A blood test to check his growth hormone and an xray to look at his long bones to rule out little person-related stuff.

After these tests, for crying out loud, LET'S LEAVE THIS KID ALONE! And she agrees with that. Let's allow him to grow and develop without all of the stress of this constant testing. And to be honest, there really isn't much left to look at.

She does feel that she is "missing something." That there is something to explain Elijah's anomalies that we just haven't figured out yet. Who knows. Maybe there is, maybe there isn't. And if there is, I know that discovering what exactly that whatever is, could possibly help us to understand Elijah better. For now, though, I just want him to enjoy life and I want to allow him to be as doctor- and hospital-free as possible. Heart stuff is on the horizon, so a break before then would be nice. Dan will take Elijah back to the hospital on Monday for the three tests I listed above. After that, I'm putting my foot down! We are done with tests for a while.

After the appointment this morning we had a very tearful drop-off at daycare. It was pretty awful, complete with gigantic tears and hiccupy cries. If Elijah had any say, he would spend his time with only Mommy and Daddy, 24 hours a day, 7 days a week. He has regressed socially quite a bit since his surgery in June, so we have been pushing Elijah a bit in that area. By "pushing" I mean taking him to daycare almost every weekday so he gets used to being around other people regularly. He is definitely a kid who needs a little social "pushing." As a child I was like this as well (to a much greater degree), so the apple doesn't fall far from the tree!

We have a super fun weekend ahead of us! We get to see my dad and stepmom and many other family members on my dad's side. Elijah is sooo excited to play trucks with "Amps" (Gramps) and to sing songs with Grammie.

I love Photoshop

This photo was taken when Elijah was 14 months old, shortly after we got home from being at the hospital after his second heart surgery..

This is the same photo I used in Tuesday's post, so you know that this one is from exactly a year ago..

Thanks to Photoshop, I can sometimes pretend like I have a nice camera.

Tuesday, July 28, 2009

A couple cute moments to remember

In anticipation of my dad's side of the family's Family Reunion this coming weekend, I was looking through last year's photos from the same reunion and found this beautiful boy..

A couple quick stories from last night..

Elijah was "working" at his work bench outside, sawing things with his "aw," as I sat in a chair on the patio watching him play. He looked up at me suddenly and said, "Dada?" and then he offered me his hand and said, "Ock!" This is translated to: "Where is Daddy? Here, help me walk (ock!) so we can go find him." So I grabbed his hands and helped him walk over to the front door. He peered into the living room and called "Dada?" again, but Dan didn't answer. Elijah said, "Dada? Odge! (garage)" so we headed over to the gate at the edge of the patio so he could peek around into the garage. Dan wasn't there either, so I suggested maybe he was somewhere inside. Elijah told me "ock!" again, so we walked into the house as he continued to call for Dan. I said, "I think he might be in the kitchen!" so Elijah walked quickly toward the kitchen and started to giggle because he was so excited to find Dan. And in standard Elijah fashion, he was so happy upon seeing Dan (even though he had spent most of the day with him) that he erupted into silly excited squeals and giggles.

It was the cutest thing. The communication thing is very new for us, so it is exciting when Elijah tells us who or what he wants. Yesterday's quest for Dan was so sweet. His sweet little voice calling Daddy's name, his unbalanced steps scurrying around, his eagerness to see his daddy..

Then later, after Elijah's bath, I asked him if he wanted to go downstairs and watch a little Thomas the Train on tv before bed. Of course he got excited and started to sign PLEASE repeatedly. To make this sign, you rub the palm of your hand in a circular motion on your chest. So when I picked Elijah up to go downstairs he was still signing please, and then he reached over and signed it on my chest. I guess that must have meant pretty please?

Monday, July 27, 2009

Whirlwind weekend

We had a fun, busy, stimulating, exhausting weekend. On Saturday morning we headed north of the Cities for Dan's dad's side of the family's Family Reunion. We saw a ton of relatives and had lots of great food and conversation. We saw a lot of people we haven't see in far too long, so it was a really good day.

This sort of ordeal wears Elijah out more than I can explain. He simply does not do well in large groups of people. Not at all. He gets tired and uncomfortable and clingy and crabby and out of sorts and I find myself constantly telling people, "He does not do well in large groups of people." More on this another time, as it is something that weighs on my heart pretty heavily.

After we left we decided to go on an impromptu adventure. We headed east toward Taylors Falls and explored the beautiful trails along the river. The stroller limited our exploration a bit, but that was probably for the best because our little boy was utterly exhausted.

This is as close to a smile as we could get from him.

I have lived in Minnesota for many years and I cannot believe I have never visited this beautiful area before. The scenery is gorgeous!

Here is the Exhausted Elijah Face. We tried to get him to look at the camera, but he wasn't in a cooperating mood.

Daddy and Elijah cruisin' along the trails.

Gazing at the pretty river while making a silly kissy face.

We went out for pizza and malts afterward and Elijah spunked up a bit. You can see the "erd" (mustard) and "up" (ketchup) sitting in front of him, keeping him entertained. It's the strangest things that keep him happy sometimes.

We found a motel that looked old but decent (and affordable). After we got our room key, we drove around back to find our room in a different, much sketchier building than the one that could be seen from the road. Dan and I both gasped. We wondered what the name of the horror film would be that would be named after our experience. Ok, it wasn't quite that bad. We didn't feel unsafe there, it was just a very old motel. We put Elijah to sleep right away and Dan and I stayed up and watched a movie on our laptop before going to sleep ourselves.

The paneling on the walls is a good indicator of the type of place we were at. If only I could attach a smell byte to this post!

The next morning we found a cafe in town where we ate breakfast. We all found it to be satisfying and yummy. Before heading home, we stopped and walked around a very cool sculpture park that I never even knew existed. I majored in Art in college (along with English) so this was right up my alley. It was a nice little surprise on our already surprise trip.

Elijah made friends with a giant lizard.

I realized that I have seen photos of this very pink blob posted on other blogs recently. So I figured that warranted a pink blob cameo on Elijah's blog, too. (My sunglasses were extremely interesting, making a glance at the camera a difficult task.)

We got home and went out for ice cream and then took naps and decided our weekend wasn't finished yet. Dan and I brought Elijah to Grandma's house while we went to see the new Harry Potter movie. I loved it! We had an interesting experience at the theater. A father decided to bring his baby to see the movie, so we all got to hear loud baby babbling until another movie-goer asked the guy to take his child and leave. Then, after listening to a teenage boy who was sitting directly behind us talk throughout the entire movie, Dan finally asked him to be quiet. He didn't like that one bit, so he called Dan every bad name in the book. Hearing such totally disrespectful and inappropriate words come out of a teenager's mouth was shocking!

We couldn't come up with another possible way to extend our weekend, so we went home and went to sleep. Elijah "slept in" till 6:40 this morning. A small miracle!

I'll have one ice cream cone, minus the ice cream

One of Elijah's favorite things to do lately is to eat ice cream cones...without the ice cream! I know, whose kid is this?!

Friday, July 24, 2009

Congenital Heart Disease

Below is an amazing tribute to a handful of children with Congenital Heart Disease (most still living, a few angels). The video was put together by Paul Cardall, an adult CHD survivor who is currently waiting for a heart transplant. He is a huge inspiration to many families with children who have CHD. Paul is also an amazing musician and his music can be heard in the video.

(Elijah is at about 3:45 in the video. And, am I the only one who bawls like a baby while watching this??)

Please pray for all of these children and for their families, and also pray that Paul gets his new heart soon.

We have some very fun adventures planned for our weekend! Hopefully we will have plenty of photos and stories to share on Sunday night. Have a great weekend, everyone!

Wednesday, July 22, 2009

ING! (also known as "swing!")

I went through my photo archives and found all of the photos we have taken of Elijah on a swing. They are all super cute, so I thought I would share..

This was Elijah's first ever swinging experience! It was taken on a warm day (relatively speaking) in the very late winter/early spring of 2008. As cute and happy as he looks here, this photo sends a deep sadness through my core. It elicits tears for me almost instantly. It was taken just before the chaos that is known as The Month I Wish I Could Erase From My Memory. You don't have to look too closely to see his blue lips, which was our first clue that his heart needed to be fixed. I'm just happy that Elijah's face does not reflect that this was a very very dark time for our little family.

It's funny how the early pics of Elijah always trigger such intense emotions. I can see any photo of him that is in existence and know instantly which surgery/procedure he was closest to in time. In this photo, he was about a week past his hypospadias repair last August. This was another scary time for me (on a much lesser degree) because he had a fever for 8-10 days past his surgery and I remember worrying a lot about that. You'd never know just from looking at him, though. Look at that happy face!

This photo was taken on an unseasonably warm (again, relatively speaking) day last Fall, just before his most recent heart cath. I remember trying to absorb as much warmth as possible in anticipation of winter. And little did we know what a terrible winter was in store! This is one of my favorite photos of Elijah. That cheesy, happy grin melts my heart.

This photo was taken at the beginning of June of this year. Another favorite of mine. Pure happiness on that face.

And this photo you may recognize from a post from a few days ago, taken on an unseasonably cool day last weekend.

Have you noticed any themes in this post?
1. Swinging makes Elijah very happy, and
2. our weather is always unpredictable and crazy!

Tuesday, July 21, 2009

Sleep, doctors and toilets

Last night was a bizarre night. Elijah woke up either screaming bloody murder, talking to himself (most likely counting to ten, as he has been obsessed with this lately) or crying every 30 minutes or so. He never does that even once in the night, let alone all night long! Dan and I were puzzled (and quite tired). When we checked on him he seemed fine, he just wasn't sleeping well. Bad dreams, maybe? I have no idea. He was so exhausted by 9:00 this morning that Dan had him take a morning cat nap, and that is something he hasn't needed in many many months. Praying for a better night tonight..

Elijah had his ENT appointment this morning. The doctor examined him and was able to rule out VPI. They gave him a quick hearing test that he passed (yay!). Dr. S pointed out Elijah's "big head" and "short arms" (nice, thanks for noticing) and said, "I don't have any answers for you today!" He suggested making an appointment with a speech pathologist who he works with and getting his/her thoughts on Elijah's nasal-sounding speech. We are happy that VPI has been ruled out!

Now that Elijah is communicating much better with us, we are thinking of starting potty training. I have absolutely no idea where to start, especially with a 2.5-year-old who can't walk or run to the potty when he needs to. I guess we'll start by getting him familiar with the word "potty" and what it means and go from there. It seems like such a daunting task.

Dan is taking me out for dinner for my birthday on Thursday night (can't wait!) and Elijah has a few more doctor's appointments (this Friday and next Thursday) and we have some really super fun weekends ahead of us. Four out of the next five weekends involve lots of fun family and friend time that we are looking forward to very much! Oh, and today is my dad's birthday, so happy birthday, DAD/GRANDPA! We love you and we can't wait to see you soon!

Sunday, July 19, 2009

What month is this?

Elijah is showing off one of his new cute shirts. He likes to point at it and say, "Cog! (dog) Boo! (blue) Irt! (shirt) Oof! (woof)." I can't think of a single other discriptive word for it. Good job, Elijah!

We don't have much to report about our weekend besides the fact that until today, it felt more like November than it did July. Today was great, though. Elijah and I spent our morning at a nearby air show, and spent the afternoon taking walks and going to the park. I can't believe Monday is almost here already again. How does that happen?

Elijah has a few doctor's appointments this week. Other than that, hopefully it will just be another low-key week for us. That's all for now! Enjoy the pics of our sweet boy..

Whoa, going high in the swing!

Even though it was not nice out on Saturday, we still spent a lot of time at the park (as we expected snow to start falling from the sky).

Elijah is showing everyone his cheek...

...and his ear.

My happy, crazy-haired boy.

These rocks are like the funnest things in the world.

Elijah was a really good boy at the air show. He loved watching the planes buzzing around in the sky and did the sign for airplane about 5,638 times.

Today he figured out how to hold up just his first two fingers as he said, "GOO!" (two). So, I saw the peace sign a lot today.

Friday, July 17, 2009

Thursday, July 16, 2009

Communication is here!

While Dan was taking a picture of Elijah after his first proper bath in a long long time, he got very upset about not being allowed to play with the camera. Look at that face!

I have been meaning to write a post about Elijah's communication explosion in the past few weeks. He is saying and signing so many new things, and it has been very encouraging. He is still having a hard time getting a lot of air to move through his mouth, so he still says only the ends of words and many of them still are very nasal-sounding. He has an appointment with his ENT doctor next Tuesday to rule out palate deformities that could be causing some of these issues.

New signs: please, thank you, cracker, puppy, flower, car, airplane, boat.

New words: bug (he appears to like bugs and he does not get this from Mama), plant, dirt, light, car, cow, dog, walk, stuck, cat, map, mop, cup, slide, chalk, yak and the list goes on.. New words pop up every day.

Ohhhh pizza, I must eat you.

Yesterday I put Elijah in the wagon after dinner so we could go get the mail. It's our little thing we do every evening. When we walk down our driveway and turn to the left, we are heading toward the mailbox. When we turn to the right, we are heading toward the park. So when I turned left last night, he immediately got a grumpy-sad look on his face. He pointed behind him and said, "K0ck!" (I misspelled that on purpose to avoid icky google searches, and yes, that is exactly how he pronounces the word "park," and yes, it is a little weird when people in public stare at you because your child is saying that word repeatedly and very excitedly.) We eventually made it to the park and fulfilled his desire for swings and rocks and slides. Our boy is a true lover of the outdoors, and especially of parks.

We have had a really low-key and normal week, which has been nice! Dan works again this coming weekend, which is very good for our checkbook. Elijah and I have a few fun things planned, including possibly spending our first night at the dropzone this summer! We will see what other adventures lie ahead.

Thanks for checking in on our munchkin. We hope you all are having a great week!

Monday, July 13, 2009


We were rebels today. We canceled Elijah's post-post-op appointment because the 12:30 time slot that we tried to reschedule (we are becoming increasingly glad that neurology is not his main specialty) would have thrown Elijah's entire nap/day off schedule. His incision looks great, so we are going to assume it is ok to bathe the dirty boy as we attempt to make another post-post-op appointment.

Yes, we are super protective of his sleep schedule and I'm very proud of that!


A few months ago I submitted Elijah's name to the CHD awareness quilt project. Each handmade quilt block honors a specific child with Congenital Heart Disease. Forty-two blocks are put together to create a quilt that travels around the country to promote CHD awareness. There are many quilts that have been put together by generous people donating their time for this cause.

When I entered Elijah's submission for a quilt block, I was asked to write about a few of his main interests so they could incorporate those things onto his block. I don't remember exactly what I wrote, but what they created for him was absolutely perfect. I opened the image that was sent to me this past weekend and I was overcome with emotion.

Once I wiped away my tears, I called Elijah over and sat him on my lap so he could see a picture of his very own quilt block. I am not kidding you, he excitedly said, "GUCK! (truck!) CAW! (car!) NNN-DA! (zebra!) EE-EE-OO-OO (monkey noises) OOK! (book!) OB! (Bob The Tomato)," with no pauses in between words. Oh sweet boy, this is indeed your CHD square!


On a somewhat related topic, I have discovered a very intense connection with an object that we "acquired" from Elijah's most recent hospital stay. We always seem to come home with a hospital-owned object or two after we have spent a few days there. Most of the time it is accidental and we get home and go, "Oh look! I guess Elijah has some more purple pajama pants!" This time, though, we acquired a small blanket not entirely by accident. I wouldn't call it theft, either. As we packed our things to leave the hospital, it ended up getting stacked with the rest of our blankets and we just didn't make much of an effort to pull it out.

When we got home I started to fold up the little blanket and drape it over the chair in Elijah's room along with the rest of his blankets when I was overcome with a feeling I couldn't explain. I felt a strange, close connection with it. I went into Dan's and my bedroom and tucked it under the covers on my side of the bed, not really knowing why. Every night since then, I have slept snuggled up to that thing as tightly as if it were one of Voldemort's horcruxes (sorry, Harry Potter on the brain).

I can't put into words why this blanket is so important to me. I feel why it is important, but I'm not sure there are words to describe that feeling. The only thing I can think to say is that Elijah literally sweat, bled and cried tears of emotional and physical pain onto that very blanket, and I want something tangible that won't let me forget every part of that experience. Maybe it is a reminder of his strength or a reminder of the bond we share or a reminder of how far he has come or a reminder of what God has done for us, or maybe all of that.

All I know is that it somehow brings me comfort to wrap my arms tightly around it as I fall into my dreams.

Sunday, July 12, 2009

Our weekend in numbers

6 - times we went to the park

1 - number of cute cousins Elijah got to spend time with

6,298 - times we counted ONE, TWO, THREE, FOUR, FIVE!

1 - times we went to the Farmer's Market

27 - number of fresh vegetables we now have in our kitchen

468 - times Elijah got smooched by Mama

0.2 - seconds it took Elijah to fall asleep each night

0 - number of peeps Elijah made from 7:00 p.m. to 6:15 a.m.

56,701 - particles of dirt that adhered to Elijah's body

56,701 - particles of dirt I was unable to wash off his body (post-post-op appointment tomorrow, so hopefully a proper bath is in the near future)

1 - number of spiders that made me scream and jump about seven feet in the air

7,359 - number of calories I consumed this weekend (I better go have an ice cream sandwich to round it up to 7,500)

19 - number of skydives Dan made

412 - times Elijah said, "Dada?"

99 - times I worried about the effect of heat on my little boy's heart

367,809 - times I thought about how much I love my little boy

Cheeto fingers, yum!

He loves to check himself out in this reflective panel on our door.

Between these two cousins, there would be enough hair to make a dozen wigs.

Standing at the bottom of the slide and waiting for Kaleigh to come down was the most exciting thing ever!

Elijah and Kaleigh had a great time at the park. We were sooo happy to have Kaleigh and Auntie Lynnie over for a visit.

Auntie Lynn's (and her family's) cute new puppy, Klyde. He's super sweet and cute.

Friday, July 10, 2009


Because I'm picky when it comes to photos, I got rid of the bits of dirty carpet and spruced this one up a bit. Dan forgot to mention in his last post that these shorts didn't last long on Elijah since they're a little too big. Dan took them off and put on sweatpants instead. If you are familiar with the town we live in, Elijah fit in well!

Sounds like Dan and Elijah had a fun week without me around, huh? Well I was happy to come home to my diaper-bottomed, smiley-faced little boy yesterday. I swear he changed in a matter of days. He is saying a few new words this week and he is now doing the signs for PLEASE and THANK YOU. Apparently in between burping and flexing muscles, the boys also worked on manners!

I got a call this morning from Elijah's pulmonologist's nurse. The results of his immunity bloodwork came back showing that he has low pneumococcal antibodies, which could indicate that he has a problem with his immune system. He has received all four pneumococcal vaccinations, so he should have normal antibodies. Since this isn't the case, it is possible that a booster shot could help get his levels up to where they need to be. We will be taking him in for that vaccination soon, and 4-6 weeks after that he will need to have more blood drawn to see if his antibodies have improved. If they are within the normal range after that, then YAY! If not, there may be deeper issues, so we would then need to add another specialist to Elijah's ever-growing list of doctors.

Please pray for this pneumococcal booster to be the answer!

Elijah is saying his own name! Well, sort of. It sounds like NNnn-Daa! This "word" also means pizza, lasagna, Miya (his cousin) and a handful of other things.

We have no set plans for our weekend, and that feels pretty awesome. I'm sure we'll come up with something fun to do on the fly. Thanks for checking in and have a safe, fun weekend!

Wednesday, July 8, 2009

Guy Time

Elijah and I have been bach-ing it for 2 days now as we pine over the absence of our gloriously beautiful, wonderful wife/mother. It has been a good bonding time and we have most definitely worn dirty clothes (and no sock/shoes) in public! To give you a few more details I shall allow Elijah to express what has been going on through a "What We Have Done/What We Have Not Done" format.
Without further ado, Elijah speaks about our time alone:

What We Have Done:

- said "uck/ock" 5,384 times
- walked with walker without crying for first time in a long time
- ate lots of greasy food (mostly Daddy)
- danced in our underwear (mostly Elijah)
- stayed up past bed time
- wore muscle shirt to impress ladies (only Elijah)
- had best day at daycare in a month (only for a few hours, but still an improvement)
- stared at budget and whined (Daddy only)
- learned about the CIA and how supporting/supplying Afghanistan/Sadam in the 80's ultimately lead to bad times for the U.S. (mainly Daddy with his newest book)
- watched Thomas the Train
- watered Grandma/Grandpa's plants while they were on vacation
- scoped out some birthday gifts for Momma
- plugged nose when smelling dirty diaper (Elijah only...Daddy held his breath)
- listened to Daddy sing in the shower while frowning and waiting for it to end
- watched "Yo Gabba Gabba" while Daddy shook his head and tried not to make jokes
- went for a wagon wide wearing only a diaper and muscle shirt (good times!)
- dreamt of my Momma and seeing her gorgeous face!!!

What We Have Not Done:

- cleaned
- had any concern for personal hygene
- laundry
- been productive with house projects (all Daddy's fault)
- flossed
- been dressed at all times (diapers and underwear are too comfy!)
- eaten veggies
- washed our hands before eating (kidding...maybe)
- said "excuse me" after burping (we always forget while we laugh about it)

Well, that's about it for now. We are excited for Momma to get home tomorrow (after we clean up a bit) so we can gross her out with our stories and burps!

Below are a couple pictures of how Daddy dresses Elijah in style, the best part about the second one (that you can't see) is that Elijah is only wearing one shoe (his idea). Diapers and cut-offs, it's the way to go!

Monday, July 6, 2009

Our 4th of July weekend in pictures

The bad news from our weekend is that Dan didn't get any work. The good news is that Dan didn't get any work! Elijah and I had him all to ourselves. We filled our time with naps, walks, trips to the park, bike rides, picnics, an evening at our friends' house, fireworks and even a trip to the zoo.

The monkeys are smelly, Mama!

When I handed Elijah a biscuit to feed to the very long-tongued (and beautiful) giraffe, he started to eat it himself. Oops, not for you, sweetie! The giraffe appeared to enjoy it once he slurped it out of Elijah's hand.

We enjoyed our zoo time with the pretty Jess!

Time to shed.

We spent the evening of the 4th at our friends Ronda and Andrew's house...

..where Elijah made his first basket..

..and Dan showed off his dunking skills.

Elijah loved his time outside, as usual..

..and he took me for a ride on the scooter (ok, so we just sat on it).

He fell in love with Ronda and Andrew's massive candy bars and refused to set them down.

After Elijah went to bed we enjoyed some adult time in their backyard..

..watching the sun set..

..gazing at pretty clouds..

..launching fireworks toward those pretty clouds..

..enjoying a bonfire..

..and more fireworks.

The boys had a fun time igniting explosives and occasionally taking a break to enjoy the simple things..

..but then making their way back to the fun stuff.

The girls were satisfied with Sparkler Dancing.

I will be out of town for work for a few days :( so I'll see you all again on Thursday! I hope everyone had a safe and fun holiday weekend!