Tuesday, October 27, 2015

School updates and boy funnies

I don't have anything specific or huge to report. We have had a mostly good past couple days. The weekend was nice since none of us were sick! We went to see a movie at the cheap theater and we cleaned (exciting!), went to church and to the club and hung out at home. Elijah's sleep has been good and bad and as always, the challenging periods come in spurts and they are usually related to potty issues. I received a heartbreaking call from his teacher today. A few kids in his class conspired and put a HIT ME sign on his back. :( Another kid stood up for him and told the other kids to take it off. It sounds like it was a fairly big ordeal. Parents were called and kids were talked to. I talked to Elijah about it very gently and he seemed sad about what had happened. Other than that and a few minor things here and there, things at school are going well for him. I am constantly reminding myself how far we have come and how much progress Elijah has made! It's pretty amazing, actually. I tell BOTH of my boys how proud I am of them all the time and I think it confuses Elijah to hear that because it has become so ingrained in him that he makes bad decisions (scars from the past two school years). I constantly try to remind him how much he has learned and about the good decisions he makes now.

Sammy is doing great in kindergarten! His sweet teacher has told us that he is very patient and kind and a hard worker and good friend. His handwriting and reading have improved SO MUCH since school began! He could read maybe 15 words starting the school year and now he can read at least 50. He will actually come home from school and create work sheets for himself and complete them. He has his first class field trip on Thursday and I'm so excited that I'll be able to go with him! Last week he got invited to a birthday party for a little boy in his class and it broke my heart when Elijah read the invitation and excitedly said, "Can we go, Mom?!" :( Sammy was able to go to the party and he had a blast. Such a blast that he woke me up at 3:00 the next morning to tell me that he wanted to go back. Seriously. Elijah was upset that he wasn't able to go along, but we arranged a Daddy-Elijah date during that same time and they had a great time.

I'll end with some boy funnies that I've been collecting. Thanks for checking in!

One night Sammy didn't want to eat dinner and kept trying to get Dan to take bites of his food so he would need to eat less and still get dessert. Sammy grabbed a name tag that was lying on the table near him and that Dan had worn at a recent conference and that had his name on it. Sam turned to me, held up the name tag and said, "Send this guy over here!"

After getting mad at me because I ONLY got Sammy a cookie at Subway and not a cookie AND chips he said, "You are NOT my favorite person." I quickly reminded him that we always need to be grateful for every little thing and he was silent for a few minutes. Then he whispered into my ear, "The word 'not' was actually supposed to be silent. I meant to say that you ARE my favorite person."

After giving Elijah after-school snuggles today as I do every day (usually upon his request) he said, "You're the greatest woman in the world. You're like a little good person!" :)

Dan: Elijah, if you had to pick ONE of the following which would you choose...the biggest lollipop ever OR a giant pool of chocolate?
Elijah: Hmmmmmm....wellllll....normally I'd choose both. (long pause) But if I had to pick one...hmmmm.....I'll pick the pool of chocolate.

Sammy's bedtime prayer one night last week: Dear Jesus, thank you for this day. Thank you for Earth. Thank you for life. Thank you for my faaaaaavorite person in this family, whoooo iiiiizzzz.......(long dramatic pause)......my sweetest brother Elijah. Amen.

Sammy (calling from bed): Mommy! My toenail is rubbing on my sheets. Will you clip it?
Me (wielding clippers): Ok, which one is it?
Sammy: Foot ONE! Toe ONE!
Me: Would that be right foot, big toe?
Sammy: You got it, clipper woman!

Tuesday, October 20, 2015

House of Sickness

Ugh! What a miserable past few days we have had. Elijah caught a bug that he had Saturday and Sunday. Mine came Sunday and Monday. Then it was Sammy's turn and now Dan is down. Poor Sam threw up in a garbage can at school yesterday. :( Thankfully (??) I was home sick so I was able to get to him quickly. We spent yesterday being miserable together, watching movies and dozing in and out of sleep on my bed. Today we all seem to be on the mend. All of our bugs lasted about 36 hours and all of us had some sort of tummy issues along with fatigue and no appetite. Elijah had a fever with his, but none of the rest of us got that thankfully.

Aside from that, not much has been going on here! Today I stayed home with Sam again and we have been catching up on laundry, washing all of our germy sheets, getting caught up on Elijah's MA paperwork and I just put a batch of applesauce in the crockpot! We are heading out for OT in a bit and I wanted to write a few words before the evening got ahold of me. Hopefully my next update will be packed with good things. :) Hope you all are having a great week!

Tuesday, October 13, 2015

Cardiology check-up and IEP meeting

The past week has been FULL and filled with great news! On Friday we took Elijah to his 6-month cardiology check-up. Instinctively I knew everything would be good and that turned out to be the case! His heart function and pressures are the same as they were six months ago, which is pretty incredible. For the past 2.5 years not a whole lot has changed with his heart even despite him continuing to grow. Dr. G told us to keep doing what we're doing and to come back in six months. One of these years Elijah is going to need a heart cath, but it's impossible to know exactly when (we thought it would need to happen almost 2 years ago!). And after that, he'll need another open heart surgery but we will have to play that by ear, as well.

Our second bit of GREAT news comes from E's IEP meeting today! I know. I have never used the word "great" to describe an IEP meeting. It sounds like the same positive changes we have seen at home in the past few months are being seen at school, as well. Every person who spoke in the meeting today talked of significant positive changes from last year. His two main struggles are blurting out inappropriately and staying on task while completing school work, but compared to last year he is doing SO much better in both areas. I told his team today that for the first time in TWO YEARS, we are not just scraping by. We all have extra energy for things in the "other" category, which feels sooo good. For the past few years, anything "extra" that came home in his backpack (extracurricular opportunities, fundraisers, etc) went straight in the trash can after a loud "HA!" escaped my mouth. This year some of those things are actually feasible! It feels amazing and we are so incredibly thankful for the changes and the way this medication helps his brain. It felt good to sit down and chat with Elijah's excellent educators and not be totally sleep-deprived and edgy and anxious. It was a relaxed meeting and we were able to discuss how to help Elijah above and beyond just getting him through each day. The main objectives in this year's IEP are improving his social skills, helping him to be more self-aware and to get him to advocate for himself when appropriate. He is actually making strides in these areas already, which is awesome!

To go along with the more-than-scraping-by theme, Dan and I have pushed ourselves in some areas, as well. After technically being a part of a small group at church for two years and NEVER going to a single gathering, we finally went to one on Sunday night. We got a babysitter to come put Elijah to bed (since we still can't skimp in that area quite yet) and brought Sammy with us so he could play with some of his sweet friends from Sunday school. On the drive home he said, "Mommy, this was the best day EVER. I love Hayden's house sooo much." Dan and I felt a good connection with the group and we are excited to get more involved.

This is my second week working in Cannon Falls and it's going fine. The mornings are EARLY, but I have to be home by 3:00 for the bus so it's a short day. It's good to have the extra money (Christmas $$!) and I love the people I work with. The boys have the rest of the week off school, so they'll be going to daycare for a couple days (pray this goes well).

Here's to many more great weeks! Thanks for checking in!

Tuesday, October 6, 2015

Our presidential candidate

Due to our accumulating tiredness, we barely did a thing last weekend. We tried to catch up on sleep, but didn't get very far. For the past few nights, after multiple days of hugely cutting back on his sugar intake, Elijah has been sleeping better and later. I, however, am now getting up before 6:00 to get to work by 7:00! I'll be working in Cannon Falls 4 days/week for the next couple months. Dan will have to man the morning fort and get the boys on the bus before heading to work. I will be home in the afternoon to get them off and I'll man the late afternoon/evening routine! 

Last Thursday night Elijah told me that he was running for third grade student council and that he was doing so THE FOLLOWING DAY. We scrambled to get a poster partially made and I sent him to school hoping he'd follow through. After a little bit of encouragement from his teacher, he stood up in front of his class and gave a speech! We are so proud! His teacher said that he did GREAT. He didn't win, but he did receive a few votes! Yay Elijah!

For almost a week now, Elijah has been taking 18mg of Strattera (a slight increase from 15mg) and I think it's a great dose for him. Overall, his behavior and attitude have been great! There are still specific issues that we're constantly working on, but we are so happy with this medication. His days at school have been mostly positive, as well. His case manager has described at least three of his days in the past week as being "AMAZING." Last year at this time, nothing was amazing.

Sammy is doing great in kindergarten. I imagine he's probably the perfect little student. I have gone into his class to volunteer a couple times and he is so cute and sweet and kind. I love it!

That is all for now! Gotta work so I can get to sleep early. Thanks for stopping by.

Thursday, October 1, 2015

Corn Maze 2015

Finally, corn maze photos! And an update of our week at the end of the post.

As always, the boys had so much fun at the corn maze this year. Elijah remembered that he was the driver last year, so the boys switched spots.

Playing on the train, even though Elijah is WAY too big for it. We let him get on anyway.

The corn pit! Sammy was more comfortable playing in the corn this year than ever before. Look at these two handsome boys!

I love getting into the corn with the boys and I always find kernels in our house for months after. In fact, I found a kernel from LAST year in July's laundry this year. :)

The hay bale maze is one of Elijah's favorite things, but Sammy just so-so likes it. He ran through once and was done.

Elijah, on the other hand, ran through the maze at least 5 times. He has always loved it, even as a really little guy.

Brothers posing with the giant hay fireman.

The parakeet house was a favorite again this year. Both boys seemed scared of the birds, but they came around. Sammy sure loves animals.

Elijah stared down this cow for a long time. "Wow, you are a really gigantic and funny-looking cow!" he said repeatedly. :)

After much coaxing, Sammy fed the...uhh, what are these animals? He thought they were going to nibble his fingers off.

I love these handsome boys!

Finding our way through the BIG maze!

I love this beautiful face!

Handsome boys..

This week has produced a TIRED Mama and a TIRED Elijah. We have given Elijah a little too much sugar (there's such a fine line), which has caused some very early morning potty issues. When he is awakened at 3:00-4:00am, he does not go back to sleep. When I am awakened at 3:00-4:00am, I do not go back to sleep. Today we totally cut out sugar and will do so for the next few days to get things back on track. Homework tonight was painful...more difficult than it's been so far this year. :( We are praying for a much better night of sleep tonight. My red, tired eyes are screaming for sleep!

Earlier in the week, Sammy's attitude was sour and he seemed distant. I have made an extra effort to give him one-on-one time and things were better today. Each night after Elijah goes to bed, we sit on the floor in our living room and play a few games of Mastermind. He is SO smart and is getting so good at this game. It is such a special time for us to spend together and I think he cherishes it, too. I love my Sammy! He is my precious, smart and wonderful boy!

That's all for now! More later. Thanks for checking in!