Thursday, December 27, 2012

After much receiving..

Both boys received a plentiful amount of gifts this week, in celebration of Christmas. Honestly, they haven't even played with or noticed all of the toys they unwrapped. It was a lot. Part of me loves that because it so much fun to see them so happy. I love happy boys!

The other part of me wants to simplify this time of year. It can be sooo much. I'm already making plans to simplify next year. In the meantime, Dan and I decided that we needed to end the week with a completely different train of thought: giving! At first I thought it would just be Elijah and me doing this mission, but it ended up being all of us. Elijah understood it, but Sammy did not yet. Eventually he will. It was good. I am happy to finish off this week's plentiful receiving with a little bit of serving.

Wishing you all a wonderful weekend! As always, thank you for checking in on us. xo

Tuesday, December 25, 2012

Merry Pim-pintz!

Merry Christmas (or, "Merry pim-pintz," as Sammy says)! We enjoyed a busy evening with Dan's side of the family last night for Christmas Eve. The boys thoroughly enjoyed their time with their cousins. We got home late and we (er, the boys) woke up way too early.

Santa had filled their stockings, and they were excited about that. They both received more presents than I am sure they had ever imagined was possible.

Dan and I spent the day playing referee. "Don't touch MY TOY!" "NO, that's MINE!" Ughhh.. neither of us has had any experience with such sibling rivalry, so we didn't quite know how to handle this sort of thing. We did our best.

I have a plan for tomorrow for E and me. I think Sammy is too young to comprehend it, so for now, for this year, it will be an Elijah-Mommy mission.

I love this photo. It's not how it looks at all! Elijah was just trying to give Sammy a hug. :)

A cute pic of Elijah, Sammy and all of their cousins on Dan's side of the family. Aren't they all so cute?

Bed-head Elijah! He was so excited to open presents this morning. I've never seen such a determined present-opening look on his face. :)

My brother and his sweet girlfriend sent Sammy this toy bbq grill. Both boys LOVED IT. Many fights occurred over this thing. "GIVE ME BACK MY MUSTARD!" "DON'T TOUCH MY HOT DOG BUNS!" :)

Dan's mom gave Sammy this stuffed frog and he loved it to pieces. He literally had it wrapped around his neck for the entire day.

Both boys also loved their new doctor's kits. Elijah sure knows just what to say to ease his patients' pain and anxiety. He must have heard those words himself a thousand times before!

We wish you all a very Merry Christmas today!

Thanks for checking in!

(here is a photo of one of my favorite gifts this year....thank you, Hubby!)

Saturday, December 22, 2012

Christmas lights and the Superman Band

Another busy week is done! I keep thinking there will be a week when I don't have a thousand things to do, but that doesn't seem to happen. I suppose keeping busy with good things is good!

The boys are doing well. I attended Elijah's Winter Party with him at school yesterday. It is always so special to be a part of his class-time. His teachers ask him to introduce me, and he so sweetly says, "That's my mommy!" :) It is so much fun getting to know Elijah's classmates and teachers after hearing about them so much at home. There are some sweet kids in his class, and he could not possibly have better teachers.

Here is a video from tonight. Dan and I spent a good chunk of our morning cleaning and sorting TOYS TOYS AND MORE TOYS. In the process, the boys found Superman costumes, and then guitars. I present to you the Superman Band! 

Elijah finished up swim lessons this week, but he will need to be a Crayfish again in the spring which is just fine. I am hoping to get Sammy into swimming, too, but I need to figure out to make it seem like it's his idea.

Tonight we took a special family adventure (or "ben-chur," as Sammy calls it) to drive around looking at Christmas lights. I don't think our boys have been so sweet for such a long period of time in weeks! "Look at the pretty lights!" "Ohhh, cool!" "That's so beautiful!" "Ohhh, WOW!"

We are done with Christmas shopping and have just a tiny bit of wrapping and baking to do tomorrow. Other than that, we are just excited for Christmas! We wish you all a Merry Christmas! Sending our love to you all for a safe and happy holiday..xo

ps. We narrowly avoided an Elijah croup episode last night (thank you, oral steroids). Hoping and praying for health tonight..

Friday, December 14, 2012

DARNCHES, it's snow!

Dan and I spent last evening wrapping Christmas gifts. This season seems to be "so much" sometimes, doesn't it? I want our boys to enjoy Christmas, but I also want them to always remember the meaning of it. I always feel so conflicted this time of year. We do not make it to church hardly at all in the summer. Dan is at the dropzone working every weekend, and we are usually there with him so we can spend time with him. One of the things I love about winter is that we can all go to church together! A few Sundays ago, Elijah brought this journal home from Sunday school. He sat down at the table with no prompting from me, and wrote the following:

He calls this little notebook his "Jesus Journal," and occasionally pulls it out to write in it. I think that is "Who I love" on the left and the lines that are hard to read on the right are "I love myself" and "I love all of family." I thought it was super sweet! Especially considering the general tone of our house lately. :(

On most days, most things are a struggle. Not just a little bit of whining, but major fits are thrown over very little things. And now Sammy is starting to follow suit because he thinks this is how it is supposed to be! One of the things Elijah has always done since he learned to talk is figured out which words get a reaction out of Dan and me and then he uses them to get under our skin. We are constantly having to discipline for calling people names or saying bad words or using bad tones. And again, guess who repeats all of these things? Yep, Sammy. An example.. for years, one of E's many made-up phrases has been "Punch punch apples!" He puts a little tune with it and sings it repeatedly. It has always been harmless, so I have never said a word about it. In fact, I sometimes find myself singing it to myself while washing dishes or folding laundry. Until this week. "Punch punch apples" is now "Punch punch (insert name)." Not cool. So now when I ask Sammy to do something, he will say, "Punch punch Mama." Lots of time-outs have been occurring in the Porta house. And lots of talks about being KIND and RESPECTFUL and using NICE TONES and on and on and on. I feel like a broken record, just like I am sure every parent does!

On the funny side of this, Elijah's most recent made-up word that he uses when he is frustrated (thank goodness he finally dropped "cr@p!") is "barnches!" A variation of it is "darnches!" Dan and I have started using it, as well. When I stub my toe on the couch, now I exclaim DARNCHES! :) It has a nice ring!

We got a huge snowfall last weekend, and we had so much fun playing in it! Sammy has always had really sensitive eyes, so he spent most of the time outside with his eyes closed. He has also always been afraid of loud noises, so every time a snowplow drove by he would either run to me or close his eyes tightly and not move an inch.

This is our snowman, Charlie. Charlie is now very droopy, as he has melted a bit since Sunday. When I walk Elijah to and from the bus, he says sadly, "Ohhh. Charlie's sad."

You can't play in the snow without having hot chocolate afterward, right? Or should I say, without eating marshmallows. "More marshmallows, please, Mom!" :)

I thought of a few more cute Sammy-isms since my post about him last week. Any word that begins with a K becomes the CH sound for Sam. "Kitchen" is "chi-chen" and "ketchup" is "che-chup."

I have always talked about what a snuggler Sammy is, and that is still true. Probably ten times a day I hear, "Mommy, come suggle wif me on da blue chair!" He also loves playing with all of his stuffed animals. He will line them up on the couch like they are watching tv and he gets them all snuggled with pillows and blankets. Every once in a while one of the animals will kiss or hug or talk to another animal.

And as always, he is so very independent. He wants to do absolutely everything himself. I wish his brother had a tiny bit of this! :)

Sammy likes to have ALL of the lights on in the house. I am constantly turning lamps and lights off, and then I hear him say, "Mommy, I can't SEE! Turn the light back on!"

One last thing about Sam. He loves to wrestle and have pillow fights, especially with his brother. His signature move is sitting on his opponent's head. Every time he does this to one of us, we say, "AWW! He did THE SAMMY!"

Elijah's ears hurt for a few days after his surgery a week ago, but we haven't needed to give him Tylenol since probably Wednesday. He still cannot hear everything we say, but it is better. His OT and PT both made comments this week that he asked, "What's that noise?" a couple of times. That is something he has never done before, so we know he is hearing new things.

On Monday E had a mole removed from his back that was dark and growing. It is always good to have another thing done! Have a great weekend and thanks for checking in and reading my long post!

Saturday, December 8, 2012

Ear tubes are in

Elijah had his surgery yesterday to place tubes in both ears. He has had multiple ear infections in the past nine months or so, causing fluid build-up and hearing loss.

Dan and I were almost giddy yesterday when we saw that we had our favorite anesthesiologist, Dr A! We have never had an anesthesiologist that was anything but excellent at Children's, but Dr. A is on a different level. He has cared for Elijah during some of the "big" stuff, and he has always gone above and beyond. So we were very happy to see him walk in our room! Typically they would place an IV for a heart kid, even for a surgery as simple as this one, but Dr. A didn't think that was necessary considering how well E is doing. Thank God. One less thing to cause trauma/anxiety.

Surgery was a piece of cake. He was in and out in ten minutes. He woke out of anesthesia just fine, and ate two popsicles and drank a box of juice. The nurse gave us a little vomit bag for our ride home, just in case. It was a good thing she did because Elijah used it twice. I think I will invent a vomit bag that perhaps one cannot see through. Icky! Anyway, once we got home he threw up again, and again, and again. We were able to get some Tylenol in his belly at 8:00, thankfully, because he had a bit of a fever from surgery.

Starting at 3:00 this morning, he was throwing up at least every 30 minutes. He was so thirsty by 7:00 this morning that he was begging for water and milk (and waffles) constantly. It was a bit heartbreaking having to tell him no. After his 8:00 vomit session, Dan and I both were concerned. He was obviously dehydrated. He was pale and wasn't moving off the couch, which is unusual. We agreed that if he threw up one more time I was going to bring him back to Children's. I took a quick shower and prepared myself mentally for it, while praying that we wouldn't need to go.

God heard our prayers because he has not thrown up since! He has had water, toast, crackers and milk and he has kept it all down. He is doing much better! He is taking a nap right now, and we are hoping he feels much more rested and normal when he wakes up! Sammy was up a lot, too, during the night with all of the commotion, so we are hoping for a giant nap for him, as well.

Elijah's reaction to anesthesia has gradually gotten worse over time. He never used to have issues with it, but after the last few procedures he has vomited a handful of times. We have never seen anything like this, though! It is so strange because he was only under sedation for literally 10 minutes!

His hearing does not seem to be greatly improved, which is lingering in the back of my mind. The doctor told us we would see a drastic difference immediately. I'll worry about that later. For now, I have work to do while the little ones snooze!

Monday, December 3, 2012

And somehow Sammy turns two-and-a-half

Since tomorrow Sammy will officially be two-and-a-half years old, I figured I would dedicate an entire post to him and all that he is up to these days!

If I say to him, "Sammy, you are silly!" he responds, "No I'm not, I'm FUNNY!"

He now pronounces Elijah's name "Ee-YA-JA!" We hear this a. lot.

Breakfast is "beh-biss"
Spoon is "foon" (Elijah thinks this is hilarious and often says, "Sammy, will you please say 'spoon'?")
Peanut butter is "pee-dee butter"

His little voice is the absolute sweetest, cutest thing. We often have complete strangers comment on how cute it is. It's low and sometimes it cracks. And his lisp pushes it over the top of total cuteness. "Thammy wanth thum milk, Mama!" Oh man. Who would have thought hearing a regular old sentence could make me melt?

When I am bent over cleaning milk or food off the floor (often), Sammy likes to climb up on my back and scream, "MOMMYYYYY MOUNTAAAIIINNN!" At this point I grab his arms and stand up and make a lap through the house. Then I deposit him onto the couch. "'gain, MAMA!" Then Elijah asks for two turns. Then I am tired.

We have learned how to "work around" Sammy's intense independence. For example, we finally have him willingly taking baths! We started putting Elijah in the bath and not saying a word to Sam. After 5 bath times or so, he finally starting approaching the bath all by himself. Then he started asking to get in. Now he gets in when Elijah does. Victory and a clean two-year-old! We have figured out how to make diaper and clothing changes easier, too-we give him control. "Sammy, which rug should we change your diaper on?" "Do you want Mommy or Daddy to change your clothes?" Works (almost) every time. He is so fiercely fiercely independent.

Bedtime has to be all on his terms, too. He has to walk upstairs by himself (me behind him). He has to turn on the fan himself, and then throw first Baloo the Bear into his crib, followed by Cowwy the stuffed cow. Then he has to climb up onto the bottom part of the railing, all on his own, of course. At that point I can lift him into bed.

When he meets someone new and feels comfortable enough to talk, the first thing he usually says is, "Look at my shoes!" Then he runs through all of our ages. "Sammy is two! Elijah is five! Daddy is thirty-three! Mommy is thirty-seven!"

He is such a precious, smart little boy. He is funny and cute and I love smooching on his soft little sweet neck. He is the best sleeper, his giggle is the BEST, he does not like to eat anything we put before him and he loves to wear his sunglasses all the time (to be like his bro, I think). We all love him so much! Happy 2 1/2, Sammy!

Thank you for checking in! Have a great week. xo

Tuesday, November 27, 2012

Ear tubes and boy funnies

Elijah will get tubes placed in his ear (ears??) on December 7th. It literally was the only 15 minutes open in the ENT's schedule for the entire month of December. We are very thankful the time was available!

Dan and I took the boys to see Santa at the mall today. We have never talked much about Santa, as we have liked to keep the "reason for the season" as true as possible. Elijah was barely impressed by Santa today (which I secretly loved) and Sammy wanted nothing to do with him. He did allow Santa to give him a high-five. :) Santa kept asking E, "Well, what do you want me to bring you for Christmas?!" and E kept saying, "I don't know! Toys!" "Well, what kinds of toys." "I don't know!"

A couple E funnies from today:
"Mom, you are the sprinkles on my cupcake!"

"Mom, you are the fresh gingerbread man in my Candyland gingerbread house!"

"You are the sleeping beauty in my sleeping bed!"

Some Sammy funnies/goodies:
He has wanted to wear band-aids on his fingers all day. Or "bam-daids," as he calls them. When they would fall off, he would freak out just a bit. "BAM-DAIDS! BAM-DAIDS!"

After every nap, Sammy snuggles with either Dan or me for at least 20 minutes. It is the BEST. I love that sweet, snuggly, independent (oh my goodness, is he independent!) boy to pieces.

Monday, November 26, 2012


Hello! We are alive and well. In the past few days life has slowed down for us a bit, which has been wonderful. On Sunday, the four of us enjoyed time at home together for the first time in many many months. It was a wonderful day.

Here is what has been going on with us..

We put up our Christmas tree and decorations! The boys have loved this (as have we). I think for the first time ever, Elijah is truly enjoying the Christmas season. Sammy seems to be loving it, too.

Dan and I found an ornament buried deep inside our Christmas Bin this year. Neither of us have any idea where it came from, but we have both been enamored by it. It has taken center-spot on our tree!

The boys have been in a love-hate relationship for...well, their whole lives..but they have been mostly loving each other lately. Today, as they were each redeeming stickers (phone-time) from their Behavior Charts, I caught them wanting to be close to each other!

Sammy got a haircut today! The gal cutting his hair refused to cut all of it off. Funny that his name is Samson and people refuse to cut his hair. :) The haircut is cute, though.

Elijah was sick last week and got another ear infection, this time in his right ear. Having very little hearing in his left ear already, it has been interesting with him having limited hearing in his right ear, as well. We have to basically yell everything at him, if we want him to hear and understand what we are saying. We are hoping to get him in for ear-tube surgery in the next few weeks to alleviate this issue.

We have created new charts for both boys, in which we give stickers for good behavior. Both boys have been doing things such as zipping their own coats (Elijah), going potty with no complaining (both boys), sharing with brothers (both boys), allowing Mommy or Daddy to help perform tasks (Sammy), being kind to people (both boys) and sharing (both boys). Earning stickers means earning fun things! Hoping to continue the nice trend..

Elijah has been a bit obsessed with Willy Wonka. We bought the (old) dvd for him a year or so ago, but he has just become interested. He sits in front of this movie when it is playing and does not ever look away. Once it is done, he asks a million questions. "Mom! What happens to the kid who goes up the chocolate pipe?" "Mom! Why does Willy Wonka tap the girl with his cane?" "Mom! Is Charlie a good kid in the end?" All day he has been saying to me, "Can we PLEASE talk about Willy WONKA?!" :)

We have a laid-back week ahead, which I love! Thank you for checking in. xo

Saturday, November 17, 2012

The Tooth Fairy

Elijah pulled out his tooth in the middle of the night last night and placed it under his pillow. He was bummed that the Tooth Fairy didn't come. :( I explained that she didn't know his tooth was there, and that she would come tonight.

Sammy said, "Take a picture of my teeth, too!"

Better get to my Tooth Fairy duties! :)

Friday, November 16, 2012

The sweetest little Sammy and a wiggly tooth!

This Sammy of ours. When he is sweet, he is so stinkin' sweet. I can hardly stand it!

Today after Elijah got home from school he was eating lunch and excitedly announced to me that he had a wiggly tooth! I had not yet talked to him about losing teeth, but thankfully he had watched the "Teeth" episode of Yo Gabba Gabba a couple of times so he was somewhat informed. I almost started crying! Losing teeth already?! My big boy!

We talked about what would happen in the next couple days and then he asked about the Tooth Fairy. In standard Elijah fashion, there were A LOT of questions about her. Where does she live? What color is her wand? What does she do during the daytime? Do her wings move fast? What city is her house in? 

Then it was 100% his idea to write her a letter..

Dear Tooth Fairy, 
Elijah broke his tooth. 
! Bob (no idea what this is about). 

By the end of the day the tooth was a little bit more wiggly. In the next few days we will have one less baby tooth!

Thursday, November 15, 2012

IEP meeting and BATHS!

Yes, you read that right. Sammy is now willingly taking baths! Finally! We had to trick him a bit, but it has been working. We have started putting Elijah in the bath first, not saying a word to Sam about getting in. Eventually, Sammy decides for himself that, HEY! That looks like fun! And he comes over to join his brother. Only because it was his own idea. I have never known a more independent person than Samson David Porta.

I posted this photo because you can see Elijah's lazy eye here. We especially notice it when he's not wearing his glasses, but it occasionally happens when he is wearing his glasses, as well.

Dan and I attended Elijah's Evaluation meeting and also his IEP meeting this afternoon. I always get nervous about these meetings because sometimes it is hard to hear about all of the things that are "wrong" with our boy. These meetings get much easier the older he gets, and the more I get used to attending them. Back when he was really behind in every area, they weren't so easy.

Today's meeting was good. Dan and I are so proud of how far Elijah has come. As we sat and listened to everyone talk about concerns and areas that need improvement (and ALSO how smart and friendly and likable he is), I remembered where he was at three years ago. He has come so far. Incredibly far!

The nurse who attended the meeting said the most perfect thing. She had read through Elijah's medical records (which we very much appreciate), and she said that people who have valve replacements need a lot of time to function at full capacity after the replacement occurs. For the first few years of his life, he lived with a temporary valve and also with very low oxygen saturation in his blood. As the nurse said, HE IS JUST BEHIND. He started late for good reason and he is just behind. This is what has been on my heart so strongly for the past six months. He had such a late start, so it is understandable that he has so many delays. 

There are literally 26 pages of information about Elijah that we went through today. We are so very grateful to have such amazing and focused care for him. His "team" is seriously awesome, you guys. We are blessed beyond words.

In a nutshell..

Elijah's academics are a non-issue. He is above average in this area. He is finally interacting with his peers at a "normal" level, which is music to our ears. 

Concerns: His fine motor skills are very delayed and they are starting to get in the way of his productivity in class. For example, he needs helps twisting the glue cap open and closed and turning pages in a notebook, so he spends his time asking for help instead of accomplishing tasks. Winter is almost here, and he is unable to snap and button and zip and tie. That means that time will be taken away from other important tasks as he tries to get these things accomplished.

As has always been the case for him, gross motor is a concern, as well. He is unable to keep up with his peers. We were encouraged to hear that although he cannot keep up or physically participate in the way that his peers do, he adapts well! He can't jump while turning in a circle, but he can do his own little circle dance and accomplish it as best he can. He can't sit unassisted for the entire circle time, but he leans and adjusts his weight and body as he needs to. He can't keep up with the kids while they walk to the library, but he does his little half-run that gets the job done.

And the other main concern was Elijah's distractibility and his need to constantly repeat things and have things repeated. Dan and I can relate very well to this concern, as we remind him to do things CONSTANTLY at home. Repetition is a major theme for us. 

So there it is. Elijah is behind, but he is making progress. He has very good reason to be behind. We support and love him and we will do anything in the world to help him continue to catch up and be the happiest person he can be. We feel so incredibly thankful that he has such a caring and competent care team. Honestly, they are the best. Elijah is one lucky little guy. 

And our Sammy. We love him so very much. He is a cute, smart little boy. My most recent prediction about him is that he is going to have a love for music. He can tell me the name of any instrument just by sound and he has this natural, deep little singing voice. He still loves to snuggle, and every night he has to sleep with his blankie ("bebe"), blanket ("banket," which he likes for me to cover his back with when he goes to bed), cow ("Cowwy") and bear ("Baloo"). He often talks to and cares for the stuffed animals in our house, which is the cutest thing.

I love these precious boys!

Thanks for checking in! Have a great weekend!

Sunday, November 11, 2012


My three boys and I spent the weekend in Southwestern Minnesota attending a good friend's wedding. It was the first time in many months that I have been with all of my boys for an entire weekend. It was also the first time in over four years that all of my college roommates and I have been together. It was a good weekend!

Although.. Elijah and Sammy put Dan and I through some tough times. Oh man, these boys can be a handful. We had some trying moments, as I wondered where in the world I had gone wrong as a mother. Thankfully I have a husband who reassures me that our constant efforts at creating two respectful, kind little men will eventually pay off. Sometimes it feels like everything we are doing is fruitless. Dan and I continue to be as consistent as possible while hoping that Elijah and Sammy will indeed be respectful and kind people in the end!

I will end with a few boy funnies:

Sammy LOVES snuggling (when he's not getting mad at us for trying to take his coat on or off). "Mommy! Pease suggle me!" I always accept his invitation.

The other day before nap, Elijah said to me:
"Mom, you are pickle-sweet and you are my best friend."
A few seconds later:
"Mom! You are the arrow in my giant moose head."

We have E's IEP meeting on Thursday. My tummy always gets nervous about these. More on this later. Thanks for checking in!

Monday, November 5, 2012

Good ear news!

I was unfortunately not able to join my boys today for Elijah's ENT appointment to take a peek at his left ear. I will admit that I was nervous about it, and I would have liked to be at the appointment. The mom in me wanted to be the one to ask all the questions. Instead, I told Dan all of my questions at least ten times. :)

I am very very happy to report that the reason Elijah has been experiencing significant hearing loss in his left ear is because fluid has built up behind his ear drum. The doctor thought that this most definitely is happening is because of the infection he had in August that didn't want to go away.

My first question was: Why didn't his primary doctor know this? Apparently specialists are more specialized! Ha! Dan said he took one look and knew from the way his ear drum was shaped, that fluid was behind it.

This is all really great news because it is totally fixable. The doctor wants to wait a few months, just in case it wants to cure itself (although it usually won't by this point). We will go back in January and if things are the same, E will need to get a tube surgically placed in his ear to help drain the fluid. I suppose some parents would be saddened by this, but for us this is something that can be fixed and that makes us happy. Thank you, God!

Daylight Savings is always an interesting week for us, with Elijah being such an early riser. Saturday night the little boys and I spent the night at a friend's house while Dan was hunting. That meant that E and I shared a bed. At 3:30, he tapped me on the shoulder and said, "MOM! Is it time to get up?!" !!! And he did not go back to sleep (neither did I, really...or Sam). Ever since then, we've all been tired. I  have to tell you what he said next because it made my heart melt, although it did not make me want to get out of bed. "Mom, you are my sweet girl and my best friend!" Awww! is EARLY! GO BACK TO BED, CHILD! :)

This will be my last week of working this freelance job I have been doing since September. This job has been such a huge blessing for us in so many ways. Financially, obviously, but it has also been the positive corporate experience that I desperately needed. Almost a year ago, I was unjustly terminated from my previous job after putting in 8.5 years of stellar service for that company. I have had a very difficult time wanting to be involved in a corporate setting since then. I can truly say that I have been recalibrated! The team I have been working with for the past few months has been awesome. They are respectful and hard-working and considerate and SO NORMAL. I feel so happy to have been a part of this work environment. I am sad that it will be ending soon, but I am also happy that it will be ending soon. That means more time with my boys. But I will miss my coworkers. 

E has another appointment tomorrow, this time with his eye doctor. More info to come on that..

Sammy is as sassy and independent as ever! That boy is a toughie when he wants to be (but usually he is such a sweet and snuggly little thing). Dan and I have basically become master manipulators in order to get him to obey and do what we ask him to do. He keeps us on our toes!

More later! Thanks for checking in!

Wednesday, October 31, 2012

Halloween 2012

I sped home from work to bring our boys trick-or-treating in a nearby mall. We have done this every year since Elijah was a teeny baby. Sammy was a bit overwhelmed tonight (I remember Elijah being like this up until last year), while Elijah was on Cloud 9!

As those of you who know our Sammy know, he is a very independent little boy. He does things only when he wants to. Dan and I both knew that getting his costume on him would be an ordeal. And it was. He had a cute robot hat that he allowed on his head for about 3 seconds. This is the only photo we got of him wearing it (i.e., taking it off). Somehow he allowed the costume to adorn his body for the entire evening (miracle!).

We had a fun evening! The boys got plenty of candy and tired themselves out walking through the mall.

Elijah was dishing out the love when I asked him to pose with Sammy. 

Kisses even!

When we got home, the boys helped to hand out candy to trick-or-treaters. Elijah loved this. When our doorbell rang, he would run to the door literally shaking with excitement. He happily tossed candy into other kids' buckets, and then said, "Happy Halloween!!" He totally thrives on social interaction.

I love watching my boys enjoy themselves. It is the best feeling in the world. Tonight I thank God for THEM (all three!) and for toothpaste and floss.

Happy Halloween!

Tuesday, October 30, 2012

Cardiology visit and more

Dan brought Elijah to see our beloved Dr. G today. All I got from Dan regarding the appointment was that "everything looks good!" I asked him, "No specifics?" "Nope! Everything looks good! We need to come back in April." So we will go back in April. We are extremely thankful that everything looks good with our steadfast boy. :)

Life has been an absolute whirlwhind lately, and thankfully the end is in sight. Another week or two of this madness and we will be able to breathe a bit. I am looking forward to organizing our kitchen (again) and doing some baking for my food blog and thinking ahead to Christmas for the first time in years. I had another fun opportunity come up for work, but that won't start until the end of November. More on that another time!

The boys have kept us very busy. Elijah has Art Class on Mondays, PT/OT on Wednesdays, swimming lessons on Thursdays, Not to mention kindergarten every morning. Potty business has been going better overall. Accidents are fewer and farther between, and spontaneous toileting (no prompting from us) occurs on occasion. This is an improvement. We still deal with challenging behavior from Elijah at times, but it is almost always when he is overly tired. We are back to having him take naps on days when it fits our schedule. This helps his behavior tremendously. On his good days, we have noticed some maturing. For the past few days, when I say, "Elijah, please go potty," he will occasionally say, "YES! Ok! Yes, Mom, I will!" Of course, he knows this will get him major praise, and perhaps a treat, but that works for me. Slooooooowly but surely, we are getting there.

With Sammy talking so much right now, I have been thinking about how totally different Elijah was at his age and in so many ways. He was just starting to utter his first words at two-and-a-half years old, whereas Sammy is talking in complete sentences. The only reason I make the comparison is to remind myself that Elijah's timeline is way out of the "normal" range, and for very good reason. He has endured his fair share of challenges! This helps me have major potty patience, and overall patience with him when things get rocky. I know I've said this before, but he and Sammy are going through similar stages in so many ways. Being three years apart in age, this is kind of crazy but it really does help me to keep things in perspective.

Speaking of Sammy's speech, this is what he said to me as I got him out of bed this morning: "Hi Mommy! I like your hair! It's really shiny!" :)

There are so many things our boys do and say every day that make me smile and that melt my heart into a huge puddle. I hope to always remember this precious time because I know one day I will miss it. Even amidst the chaos, I love it.

Tomorrow is Halloween, so I am sure we will have some fun photos to share. We carved pumpkins earlier this week. I got Elijah's choice finished on Sunday and Dan got Sammy's done yesterday. Elijah is excited about wearing his Spiderman costume, but Sammy has not allowed us to put his robot costume on him yet. We will see how he does with it tomorrow.

Thanks for checking in! Have a fun and safe Halloween!

Thursday, October 25, 2012

NC vacation!

Hello! We are alive! We had a blast in North Carolina last week with my dad and stepmom and many other family members. It was a lovely vacation. We were all sad to come home. Elijah and Sammy both have been periodically saying to us, "I'm sad! I want to go back to Gwammie and Gwamps' house!" :( I love my family. I wish they lived closer. It was WONDERFUL to spend time with them.

Last Thursday my dad and stepmom and I took the boys to an apple orchard in the mountains. The weather wasn't ideal, but I personally thought the fog added "cool" points to the experience. It was so beautiful! Plus, we are from Minnesota, so we were not a bit uncomfortable. :)

Elijah's favorite part of the orchard was the bamboo forest. We walked through it, and both boys kept calling it a "spooky forest." 

A great pic with Grammie in the Spooky Forest..

Isn't the scenery gorgeous? We picked some apples and once we got back home, Paula and I made Apple Butter with them. 

The next few photos are hilarious. "Boys! Pose with Grammie and Gramps for a picture!" Ha! Ha ha!

The day my brother Joel and his sweet sweet girlfriend Bree came into town, we spotted this praying mantis in my dad's back yard. ICKY! But cool, at the same time. I'm secretly glad we don't have these creatures in Minnesota. They are so big!

The purpose for our visit was to celebrate Paula's 30th year in the ministry. It was really cool to celebrate this with her. Family gathered from all over the country to give her love, so we got to spend time with many more people than her and my dad. The boys LOVE Uncle Phill, so seeing him was a huge highlight from the trip. I love this photo of Uncle Phill reading a book to Sammy.

Elijah and the beautiful Bree!

Here was our family photo, minus Heath (my brother) and Heather's (my sister) children and grandchild.

Not so sure what is going on here?! :)

We spent plenty of time at the park near my dad's house. The boys of course loved that, especially when Uncle Joel and Bree were around.

It has been a busy week since arriving back at home. I have been working a lot and Dan and the boys have been holding down the fort. I have decided that our lives are just crazy. Work hard, play hard, work harder, play harder, sleep little, repeat. Life is good. Thanks for checking in!