On Friday, our first full day together, we went to Minnehaha Falls and let the kids run and play. We had a picnic lunch and walked along the roaring rapids. I didn't get a single photo while we were there because Elijah had a really rough stretch, which I'm happy to report was the only "really" rough stretch of the weekend.
On Friday afternoon we headed to a lake near our home to take part in the 4th of July festivities. Here are 4 of the 5 kids walking hand in hand. So sweet!
Elijah and Gracie have a special bond since they are both heart survivors. They are drawn to each other, which is so sweet. On our walk to Round Lake, Elijah wanted to hold Grace's hand and didn't want ANYONE else to hold his other hand at the same time. It was a Gracie-Elijah-ONLY moment for him. :)
Grace, Bennett and Maggie are the cutest, sweetest, kindest, most polite kids. I fell totally in love with them this weekend (their parents, too!).
The kids jumped in many a bouncy house that evening and ate deliciously greasy-yummy food and played their hearts out. We made a spur-of-the-moment decision to have Dan take Elijah home a bit early so he could get some rest. That meant that he would miss fireworks. :( I was so torn about this. I always want our boys to experience everything they can. But...making sure Elijah gets his sleep is so super important these days. He seemed ok about leaving, and it actually brought a silver lining....no, TWO silver linings! On Dan's/Elijah's way to the car, they ran into my good friend Pam and her family so I was able to connect with them after Dan texted me about running into them! And...Elijah got an extra two hours of sleep.
The next morning we went to a beach/splash park and ate lunch at a yummy burger joint. After cleaning up, we headed to the dropzone. This is how the kids felt at that point..
Every kid except Sammy fell asleep on the ride to the dz. Jennifer made her first skydive with Dan and loved it! I am always so happy to share the sky with people! I think I got an adrenaline rush off of her adrenaline rush!
After jumping, we grilled out and cooked s'mores and attempted a few fireworks (before freaking 60% of our children out and stopping). ALL of the kids slept really well that night. We sufficiently wore them out.
The next day was church (sooo thankful the Coopers came along with us!) to listen to Dan's dad preach (super awesome message) and then we headed to the Mall of America. It was nuts, as expected. Here is Elijah, studiously perusing a map while the kids waited for the carousel.
Gracie and Elijah had a blast on the "fast cars" together! I love this pic. :)
And that was sadly the end of our journey! Our amazing friends left to head back home early this morning. Elijah cried genuine tears when they left. This was the first time I have EVER seen Elijah express true emotion about missing someone. He cried in my arms for at least five minutes, sobbing, tears falling onto my arms, as he said, "I misssss Graaaacieeee...." over and over. :( It was so sad, but Dan and I were both happy about the true emotion that he expressed. This is not typical for him. I never want my boys to feel sadness, but knowing that E feels that kind of emotion is a good sign.
Sleep/behavior in a quick nutshell... We had stopped the Clonidine (sleep med) and started a low dose of Valium almost two weeks ago. We got a fitbit and had E wear it on his wrist overnight to monitor his sleep. On the nights we were able to put him in bed by 7:00ish, he was actually getting 9.5ish hours of sleep/night. That is decent sleep! That told me that when he woke up looking like a completely wiped-out zombie, it was likely the meds that were affecting him. Dan and I made the decision to stop giving him the V mid-last week. Since then, we have seen only one major behavior incident (at the Falls on Friday) and a few minor issues. He looks much less zombie-ish and seems overall much more well-adjusted. This morning he slept in till...are you ready for this? 7:00am! This literally NEVER happens! We are still seeing him purposely try to anger us on occasion, but it gets out of control much less often. I am on the anti-med train for now. To be continued.
Ear surgery #3 is tomorrow at 11:00! We have NO idea what to expect. We are praying hard for a much better experience than last time. I'll do my best to post timely updates. It is so super easy to write something quick on Facebook, so glance there first but I'll eventually get it here. I feel like I haven't seen Dan in ages since he has been working so much, so I'm off to relax with him for a bit before bed. Thank you for checking in and I hope you all had a safe/fun holiday weekend!