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!

Monday, October 15, 2012

Water and potty (not together)

Hello friends and family! Just a quick update, as I have to get to bed soon. We have to get up at 4:30 to get to the airport, so good sleep is necessary tonight!

This past weekend we were able to spend some cherished time with one of my best friends in the world, Heather, and her two beautiful children. Elijah was beyond excited to spend time at a nearby waterpark (one of his favorite places in the world)! He explored, but not if water was going to splash in his face. Major anxiety occurs when water splashes his face! We will have to get past this issue next week when he starts swim lessons.

A year ago, he never would have gone down a slide like this. I am proud of my brave boy for conquering his fears.

Sammy has had an aversion to water since the day he was born. He hates baths and pools. When we entered the waterpark, he clung tightly around my neck and said, "GET OUT! GET OUT!" :( He stuck by Dan on the chair the ENTIRE time we were in there. He would not allow us to remove a single shoe from his foot.

At least his chocolate-toothed brother had a blast! We had fun riding down the Lazy River together. That was our special time. He didn't want to get out, and I secretly didn't either.

As I have written before, Sammy is FIERCELY independent. I will give you an example:

Getting him out of bed in the morning and (knowing he wants his blanket and bear with him when he exits his bed) I asked him, "Should I grab Bear and Bebe?!" Simultaneously I grabbed his bear. He saw this, grabbed Bear from my hands and threw him back down to his bed and stood back up. Then he bent back down and grabbed Bear himself.

These sorts of things happen all the time. He will not allow us to carry him upstairs anymore. He wants to walk to his bed by himself and turn his own fan on. He wants to get dressed by himself and buckle himself into his car seat (along with opening his own door and crawling into the car by himself). This is good in many ways, but it can be frustrating, too, as he is not capable of doing all of these things yet.

Elijah and Sammy are TOTALLY opposite in this way. Elijah has no problem whatsoever asking us to do everything for him. Sammy wants NO help. Ever.

(Happy waterpark boy!)

So tonight, Dan and I tricked Sammy a bit. We have learned that if we give him choices and make him feel like he is making decisions completely on his own that he is much more cooperative. He has fought taking baths like crazy his whole life. Tonight Dan said (after Sammy kicked and screamed about having to take a bath for 10+ minutes), "Sammy, you can either let Mama take your clothes off or Daddy will do it." Sam sucked his thumb for 30 seconds and then said, "MOMMY!" So he allowed me to remove his clothes. Step one! Then he said, "Sammy to bath!" Dan and I looked at each other like, WHAAAA?!?!?!?!?

I brought him to the bath and put him in and he was fine! Totally fine. No tears, no resistance. He played with Elijah for a few minutes and then by himself for 10 more. He loved it!

After bath, he was sitting on the couch wrapped in a towel like a cute little monkey and Dan said, "Sammy, if you have to go potty you can do that all by yourself!" So Sammy hopped off the couch and said, "OK! I go potty!" ?!?!?!? Again, we threw one another confused glances. Sammy went into the bathroom and shut the door. "I do it all by 'self!" So we gave him his privacy for a few minutes. Dan went to check on him and he said, "No! Sammy do it!" Ok ok!

He did it! He went potty on his own! At two and a half years old! This is foreign to us. Neither of us knew what to do or think. When he was finished, we danced and sang and gave high-fives and gave him a chocolate treat. Elijah said, "WAIT. What about me?" "Well Sammy went potty on his own!" So guess who else ran to go potty on his own.. :)

Then before bed (20 minutes later), Sammy asked to go potty again. YAYYY!

The little boys and I leave for North Carolina early in the morning. Please pray for good behavior and sanity in the airport and on the airplane! Also for continued potty success for BOTH boys.

Side note.. Elijah was borderline croupy through the night last night and through the day today. We held it off with steroids, and he even stayed home from school today. We are praying for an uneventful night and a vacation filled with total health!

Thanks for checking in! (so much for my quick post..)

Thursday, October 11, 2012

That pesky left ear

A few weeks ago I wrote about Elijah failing his hearing test at school in his left ear. We took him to see the doctor today to address that, and he failed the test again. Pretty badly. The doctor looked thoroughly in his ear. He found a tiny bit of wax, but nothing that would be causing so much hearing loss.

I feel in my gut that this has something to do with the horrible ear infection he got in August that took two huge rounds of antibiotics to get rid of. Ever since then, he occasionally tells me that his ear "feels funny." Also, ever since, he does NOT hear everything we say. Before that point in time, neither Dan or I noticed anything that would indicate that he had hearing problems.

In February of 2011 he passed his hearing test with flying colors. This tells us that most likely something was damaged with this ear infection in August. The doctor is referring Elijah to an ENT. Thankfully we already have one! :) We are hoping Dr. S can take a more thorough look and provide us with more insight.

The doctor we saw today didn't feel like this was a permanent thing. It could be, but he seemed to feel otherwise. We remain hopeful! The good news is that his right ear hears perfectly and that his left ear does have some hearing (although not much).

To add to my list of worries, Elijah's left eye has started turning inward again. It is happening a lot, even while he is wearing his glasses. I'm trying not to worry too much. We continue to patch his eye consistently, and again...hope and pray for the best!

Left eye and left ear, HEAL UP! It's always something!

We have a busy but fun next few days. We have some very good friends visiting over the weekend and we even get to spend a night away from home! Dan works over the weekend and I work on Monday. Early Tuesday morning, the little boys and I will board a plane and head to North Carolina to visit family. We cannot wait!

Have a great weekend!

Wednesday, October 10, 2012

Tuesday, October 9, 2012

Happy tears, sad tears

Here is a fun video of our crazy monkeys from recently. Elijah and Sammy have been having so much fun together! I love it! They talk to each other and play with each other and tease each other and tickle each other and tell each other knock-knock jokes and go to "the store" (the bathroom) and "Elijah's office" (the loft) together and keep each other up at night laughing. Ahhh, I thought this day would never come!

Things are pretty crazy for our little family right now. I have been working a lot and spending nights away from home. Dan is still working weekends and spending nights away from home. Elijah is busy with school and PT/OT and now ART CLASS (fun!). Next week the little boys and I will be getting on an airplane and traveling to North Carolina for a few days. Maybe I can hire someone to come pack for me and help me board the airplane while staying sane?!

While at work today, I had to escape to the restroom twice to shed just a few little tears. One time for a sad reason and another for a happy reason.

Sad first..

While I have been "away" working, I have been in close proximity to my sister Lissa's house. She and her family have graciously offered to let me stay with them occasionally so I don't have to make the long drive home after a long day of work. Today Lissa and her family had to put their dog, Lucy, to sleep. :( She was such a good, old puppy. I was very saddened by sweet Lucy's death. Here is a funny photo my niece Emma and I took of her just last week in her banana costume. :)

Good bye, sweet Lucy! You were a loved puppy!

Next, happy...

Back when Elijah was receiving early childhood care in our home, years ago, we handed over our blog address to the people giving him special care. Being the caring people that they are, they peeked at our blog to get a deeper glimpse into Elijah.

Last week I chatted with Elijah's PT at school, who was also his PT during his very early days. She shared with me that she still, after all these years, keeps up with reading our blog. It meant so much to hear that!

Then yesterday, I chatted with one of Elijah's two teachers and she told me that his PT had passed along our blog address to her (which I am so thankful for) and that she had been reading some of his history on here. Then today I received a very kind email from E's other teacher saying that she, too, read through some of it and that she planned to read through more.

Those of you who know us or who have been reading this blog for a while know that I have always said that Elijah has been so blessed in his little life. Honestly, every single person who has taught him or taken care of him or cared for him medically or otherwise has been not just great, but excellent. And now this continues with his kindergarten care. His "care team" and kindergarten teachers are beyond what we ever could have dreamt for him. They are totally on top of everything and they are in contact with us regularly and they genuinely seem to care for him. Being interested in reading through this blog?? That means so much to both Dan and me. All of those prayers I said for his kindergarten teacher have been answered. We have TWO of them and they are both amazing. That's not to mention the rest of his care team!

Those were my happy bathroom tears today. I am thankful.

I hope his wonderful teachers do not mind if I post their pictures! Here is Elijah posing with both of them on Grandparents' Day. Photo courtesy: Grandma (another wonderful person in our lives)!

I am heading to bed to say my prayers of thanks. On my list is my little Sammy. Although he has not been on the same journey as his brother, we love him just as much. He is such a sweet, sassy, snuggly little boy.

Thank you for reading!

Sunday, October 7, 2012

Corn Maze 2012

The little boys and I made our second annual trip to our local corn maze today. I have some pretty terrible memories from last year's trip, so today was totally wonderful! I was in a VERY. Very. Very bad place last year at this time. I remember struggling through major panic attacks and dizzy spells and having a very difficult time staying sane and upright (no joke). It made me appreciate our time here today even more than usual. I made certain that the boys experienced every little bit of fun that was possible! We had a wonderful day.

It's funny, Elijah can be such a difficult little person in so many areas. When we are out and about and when he is distracted by fun times, he is usually so compliant and perfect and obedient. It is always at home where we struggle.

And Sammy is in such a challenging little defiant stage right now. He hit me in the face a handful of times today when he didn't want to listen to Mama. He wants to do EVERYTHING by himself. If I suggest anything to him or try to help him do anything at all, he freaks out. "NO! Sammy DO IT!" Ugh. It is ok to receive help sometimes, my precious boy!

Elijah and Sammy have been HUGE buds lately. They have this silly nonsense language that bonds them. "Mom, listen to Sammy! He just said, DEEDABOES!" HAhahahaha! And they laugh forever. They have started playing together much more often, and after we have put them to bed they talk to each other for at least 30 minutes before falling asleep. I love it. I have been waiting for this for so long.

Elijah LOVED this little hay maze today. He ran through it about 5 times, completely tiring himself out. Sammy wasn't a huge fan, which was fine with me. Trying to keep track of two running boys, only one of whose head I could see, would have been a challenge.

Potty with Elijah is going ok. We have tried a new approach because our last one obviously was no longer effective. Now when he has an accident, we put a diaper on him and tell him that he needs to "earn" back his underpants. So far, every time he has worked for it and gone potty all by himself to get out of the diaper. The first day we tried this, Dan heard him in the bathroom saying to himself, "I'm NOT a BABY!" He opened the door and tossed the diaper out and shut the door. We will see what happens. At this point I have no expectations. We continue to do our best and hope for the best.

Could Sammy look any more unhappy to be in the corn maze?! :) He had the same face last year.

Last year's theme was space, rockets and astronauts. This year there was a giant scarecrow that the boys posed next to.

"Hug your brother, Elijah!" 

The animal tent/petting zoo was fun. Sammy was fearless when it came to feeding the animals. Elijah liked the idea of feeding animals, but would not do it (he has never liked this).

The sheep wanted Sammy's food very badly. He couldn't hand it out fast enough.

Elijah thought this llama was "so cute and tall!"

The "little tractor" was a highlight for E!

While we ate a late lunch at home today, I asked the boys what their favorite part of the corn maze was. Elijah immediately blurted out, "Feeding the birds!" He loved the parakeet house. When the first bird landed on his feeding stick, he was elated. While this was happening, Sammy was in the corner of the house, on the floor, throwing a fit because he couldn't reach the handle to the door.

Elijah even had a second bird land on his stick!

We visited the pumpkin patch on our way to the parking lot.

For some reason, the boys had it in their heads that they had to kiss the pumpkins. ?!? 

Both boys got pumpkin face paintings today, too!

Modeling the face pumpkin..

We had a great day! Thank you, God, that I am in such a better place than last year at this time!

And I have to end with Elijah's outfit choice after bath tonight. :) Have a great week, everyone! Thank you so much for checking in.