Friday, December 25, 2015

Christmas 2015

Merry Christmas! We wish you all the best and thank you for being here. We had a great day filled with games, snuggling, playing, present-opening and a bit of sickness. This progression of photos will show you how Sammy has been feeling. Tonight he went to bed with a bit of a fever. We are hoping for healing tonight because we are leaving for vacation in the morning. Enjoy the faces..

Despite the sickness, we had a great day. Dan and I increased Elijah's med dosage a few days ago and we have already seen an improvement in behavior. He has been sick AND he slept only 6 hours last night and despite all of that his behavior was impressive today.

I was trying to get Sammy to bed early tonight because he was not feeling well and he was being defiant. Elijah, without prompting, saw my distress and grabbed Sammy's favorite toy and brought it over to us. "Sammy!" he said, "I'm bringing this upstairs, so you should come, too!" It worked. I was grateful because Sammy went to bed without dispute and Elijah helped...and without any prompting! After Sammy was in bed, Elijah asked if his prompting had helped. YES! Dan and I were super impressed with the forethought.

Our "big" gift for the boys this year was a little drum set. Elijah has impeccable rhythm and I have always had visions of him being a drummer at our church. :) Both boys had fun playing with the drums today. Elijah asked for exact timing, so I found a metronome app that helped him stick with a rhythm.

Right away in the morning we are heading to Illiniois. Sunday we will head to Indiana, where we will spend five wonderful days with my family in a rental home. We are so excited! Thanks for peeking in!!

Wednesday, December 23, 2015

Happy Merry Crazy Christmas!

We received our family photos that Hope Kids took for us this past fall. Look at these handsome boys!

We have had a bit of a crazy past week. Both boys have been sick on and off. Two nights ago Sammy was borderline for a croup episode. It was minor enough not to report on here officially. :) After a very brief and semi-unnecessary steamy bathroom stint, he grabbed his favorite blankies from his bed and said, "Well?! Are you going to help me with these, or what?" "OH! You're coming to bed with me??" And yes, he came to bed with me. It was wonderful because I LOVE having him close to me, but I typically do not let our boys in our bed. Sammy is a restless sleeper, so we didn't sleep much after that. It was worth it, though.

Ever since, he has had his typical lingering croupy cough. For the past few days, Elijah has had some random ailments, too. Tummy pains, headaches, sore throat, random aches....and today he woke up at 2am FOR THE DAY. When I saw him this morning I actually gasped. I have NEVER seen such tired and bloodshot eyes on my oldest boy. NEVER. And that is saying a lot. It was a rough day. I'm grateful today was timed well. We have a BIG agenda ahead of us and I want to be sure our boys are feeling good for the days ahead.

This holiday season has been so crazy, but we remain grateful and feel so blessed. Merry Christmas to all of you! Thanks for checking in. xo

Wednesday, December 16, 2015

One man's good days trigger another man's rough ones???

Elijah has had a GREAT past couple days. When he gets off the bus I can instantly see whether he is doing well or not. His spunky, bright-eyed spunkiness has been back this week. Which somehow has cued Sammy to bring out the sass. Tonight was ROUGH with our sweet little Sammy. It began when he got onto my computer without asking. I kindly told him that he couldn't use it and he defiantly unplugged it, stuck it under his arm and started marching downstairs while saying, "I'll do what I WANT!" Uhhh...I don't think so, sir! After telling him that he'd be having a little visit with Daddy for the defiance, he went back upstairs to write out a slew of Mommy hate mail on scrap paper. When Dan got home Sam got a little spank on the bum for all of the above, which sent him into a tailspin. Sammy informed us that he was running away from home and tearfully broke the news to Elijah. He then begged me to help him prepare to run away. "If you're going to be on your own, you may as well learn to do things for yourself!" I told him. He did not like this, so after 30+ minutes of whining and crying he let us know that he had changed his mind. He apologized and required THREE sets of snuggles before bed because he felt so bad. That strong will of his! In a way, I love that he has it but goodness he can be a little stinker!

Elijah's sweet friend A came over tonight and I witnessed one of the SWEETEST moments I've ever seen in my life. His friend loves Pokemon (just like E!) and recently had her entire collection stolen. Tonight while she was here I happened to find Elijah's old book that was empty because he had upgraded to a bigger one. I pulled him aside and suggested that he give his old one to A since hers had been stolen. I didn't push it and wanted him to do it on his own if it was on his heart. A little while later he approached her and I heard him say, "Um, my name is written on this book, but I'd really like for you to have it to put Pokemon cards in if you'd like. I'd love it if you had this! Do you think you want it?" She said, "Elijah! This is the NICEST thing anyone has ever done for me! THANK YOU! This is so sweet!" My heart melted into a puddle from the other room. They are such a great team and I'm so grateful for the connection they have.

A quick funny before I forget.. The other night we were driving somewhere and we were on a street that had a ton of Christmas lights strung through trees. I heard Sammy whisper under his breath from the back seat, "Thank you, Jesus, for putting this here." :)

Good news! Today was my LAST day (possibly ever) working in Cannon Falls! They have been sooo good to me and I have verrrrrrrrrrrrrry affordably acquired tons of home decor and good paychecks from them, but this also means more time working on my own projects and more time at home.

We are wrapping up our week before Christmas break begins! The boys are SO excited for Christmas and everything surrounding it. We have tons of fun stuff coming up! Have a great rest of your week!

Thursday, December 10, 2015

Feed My Starving Potty Talk

Tonight we joined some folks from Dan's work at Feed My Starving Children. We worked hard for an hour and our group packed 18,000 meals, which is enough to feed 51 kids for an entire year! WOW! This is something we never would have done "before" (i.e., before meds). Staying up till 8:00? No way! The boys were TIRED when we got home, but it was so worth it. The boys worked HARD! Elijah's favorite task was weighing the bags of food and determining if they were an appropriate weight. Sammy was a good bag sorter, but really enjoyed the scooping. Elijah said such an awesome prayer on our drive home for the kids who will be receiving this food. He truly seemed to understand the depth of what we did. The rest of the way home he kept saying, "We helped lots of kids! We are keeping kids alive!" Good lesson!

We've experienced some rougher days again, so I'm going to call Dr. M in the morning and possibly increase med dosage by just a bit. Potty talk and inappropriate talking in general has been OUT OF @#$% CONTROL lately. We have cracked down at home and no longer tolerate even an OUNCE of inappropriateness. If we let even a few words fly, things are suddenly spiraling out of control. This has been an issue at school, as well, and we got our first "rough day" email from E's case manager this week. :(

Sammy, by the way, is no innocent bystander in the potty talk escapades. He's quite the instigator and has no problem fibbing when he gets caught, but only at home. He is also a super hard worker and aside from being an incredible budding artist, he also creates homework for himself almost every day. The other day he decided to sit down and write out numbers starting at 1 and going up to 200. He went to 217 just because that extra mile was so enticing. Over-achiever. :)

Elijah really wanted to get an Elf on the Shelf this year. I think he's heard about it at school and wanted in on the fun. When we explained the concept to Sammy, he was mortified! It was hilarious! He very seriously told us that he would NOT allow this crazy elf into our house because he might...gasp....STEAL OR DESTROY HIS TOYS! He loves his things. And his people. He is a loyal kiddo. He also hates change and has recently been able to express this very thing. We did a major loft clean-up/organization last weekend and when I asked Sam if he liked it he said, "NO. I don't. Because I HATE change." At least he knows this about himself!

One last non-funny funny and then I'm heading to bed. I mentioned the inappropriate words that have been bouncing around the walls in our lives? Earlier in the week I got an email from E's case manager saying that Elijah had been trying to bribe his classmates to say inappropriate things along with him and he was using fake money THAT HE HAD CREATED HIMSELF to do so. WHAT?! We had lots of talks and the following few days were much better, thankfully. Part of me is proud that he was able to think through this escapade, but the potty words are driving me batty!

I'm off to bed! I have just a few more days of work in Cannon Falls and I'm hoping to be sane in the end. :) Have a great rest of your week!

Thursday, December 3, 2015

Thanksgiving Weekend 2015!

What happened to the past week?! We had such a nice Thanksgiving weekend. The food and company were wonderful. We invited Elijah's bud over the Friday after Thanksgiving and it was so much fun to have her here with us. We did our traditional Christmas tree shopping and spent the rest of the day decorating it, along with the rest of our house.

Oh no, we're the Griswolds. :)

Fish lips!

Elijah of course remembered that Sammy put the star on the tree last year, so he got to do it this year.

Dan and I have been wanting to clean out our HORRENDOUS storage closet for literally years. On Friday as we were decorating, we just decided to start. It became a HUGE ordeal and our house was a complete mess while we sorted through tons of junk. After a couple days of work, storage looks amazing!

The boys have had a good week at school and Dan and I have been working and doing the weekday routine. I'm still working in Cannon Falls and will be there for another week or two. Once I'm done, I will probably be done for good which is both good and sad. It has been such a blessing of a job, but this season is coming to an end.

Because I know I'll want this information next year, we learned that it takes THREE WEEKS for the trauma of daylight savings to wane for Elijah. After three solid weeks, he started waking up at 5:00 instead of 3-4:00. Post daylight savings has brought some rougher days, but overall things are still soooo much better. "Rough" days now cannot be compared to "rough" days a year ago. We constantly see so many areas where great progress has been made. Especially on the rougher days, I remind myself constantly of the progress. One of the big things that we have noticed at home and at school is that he now shows remorse! He still has such a hard time stopping certain behaviors in the moment, but after they have happened he feels bad. This is good! He will now approach whoever he has wronged and apologize on his own (without prompting), which is always followed by, "I feel bad!" This is such huge huge progress!

Potty issues are also so much better. We still have a ways to go, but the progress has been amazing! I still attribute so much of the positive things we've seen in the past few months to medication. He is still taking 18mg of Strattera/day for his anxiety and we are so happy with it!

I can't remember if I mentioned this or not on here, but in the past few weeks Elijah has complained a handful of times about chest pain on the right side of his chest. It lasts for a few minutes and seems pretty intense and the last time it happened it was followed by a headache. That last time I grew concerned and called Dr. G (cardiologist). Based on what I told him, he thought it was unlikely that it has anything to do with his heart. If it happens again, he'd like for us to make sure his heart is beating at a normal rate. If it's not, we'll bring him in. It hasn't happened for almost two weeks, but I scheduled an appointment to get him checked out by his pediatrician just to be on the safe side. That appointment is tomorrow morning.

Ok, some fun things to end with..

The boys have both settled on what they would like their future professions to be. :) Sammy wants to be an art teacher (he'd be a great one!) and Elijah wants to own and operate a bakery! They talk about this all the time and it's so cute. Elijah always says that he will give free donuts to his immediate family, but everyone else has to pay. :) Sammy is already planning lessons for his art students (he wants to teach elementary kids and wants the students to call him Mr. Sammy).

Sammy is SO thoughtful and responsible. Sometimes I cannot even believe the thought he puts into things. Tonight he colored a birthday card for Dan (whose bday is on Saturday) and then hid the card under his little art desk in the loft. When I put him to bed he told me that he made sure to put all of the markers away because if he left them out, Dan might figure out that he had been making a card and then the surprise would be ruined. Sometimes I think he is soooo intelligent beyond his years. He tries to keep up with his brother on so many things and I know he listens in on our homework sessions, but I was so impressed the other day when he wrote the following (without help) on a piece of paper: 100+100=200   200+200=400   400+400=800  His reading has improved by leaps and BOUNDS! His writing, too. He has such a strong little will at times (I have sooo many stories I could share), but I know this will be in his favor one day.

There is so much more I could say. I need to post more often! Signing off for now! Have a great rest of your week.