Friday, February 27, 2009


Bitter: Spending a month away from home
Sweet: Spending time at Dan and Darlene's home

Bitter: Being away from Andy (aka "Daddy")
Sweet: We'll be able to see Andy on the weekends

Bitter: Not seeing Elijah's therapists and doctors for a month
Sweet: Meeting new people and therapists who might have innovative ideas

Bitter: Not having quality time with Andy
Sweet: Quality time with Dan and Darlene, Grandpa Dennis

Bitter: We'll miss everyone from home
Sweet: Who knows how much Elijah might change in the next month with HBOT and therapy!

I feel so bittersweet about leaving for therapy. Excited, yes, but sad to leave home. Can't wait to see what kind of changes the next month will bring for our little man, but sad we won't be able to see Andy everyday. We'll leave tomorrow and we start therapy on Monday. Please keep us in your prayers.

Monday, February 23, 2009

Elijah’s Fundraiser was a HUGE Success!

Thankful. Blessed. Pleased. Humbled. Joyful. Loved. Overwhelmed. Happy. Exhausted. Appreciative. Grateful. Overjoyed.

These words all explain how I feel about last night's fundraiser. What an awesome event it was and what a blessing that it went so well!

We had a little over two hundred in attendance and I don't think things could have gone any better. The chili was yummy, the silent auction items sold, we chatted with a lot of people (sadly, I know we missed many too), Elijah seemed happy (although tired), and we raised a lot of funds for Elijah's therapies. We met our goal, so Elijah will be getting the matching funds! Every single penny will go to Elijah's therapy and medical bills.

Have I mentioned that we feel thankful and blessed? We really, really do. THANK YOU!

Thank you! Thank you! Thank you!
Thank you to everyone who made yesterday's fundraiser a success. Many thanks to Elijah's paternal grandparents, John and Teri, who were instrumental in organizing Elijah's fundraiser (and did a mighty fine job, I might add). Thank you to Elijah's maternal grandparents, Dennis and Kathy, for all of your help. Thank you to Elijah's "Aunt" Heidi for organizing the silent auction. Thank you to all of you who did leg work to get donations for the auction. Thank you to all of our family and friends for everything you did to help with the event. It means so much to us. Thank you to all of the businesses and people who donated items for the silent auction. Thank you to everyone who came to support Elijah (and us) yesterday evening. Thank you to all of you who supported us in prayer, thoughts, and donations.

It's a surreal feeling standing in a room, surrounded by people who care about your child. We really feel so loved. It means so much to us and I don't know how else to express it. What else is there to say, but, "Thank you! Thank you! Thank you!" You've heard it from me before and I know you'll hear it from me again.

Because of all of you, we're able to embark on another HBOT journey. A week from today Elijah will be going on his new adventure with HBOT and intensive therapy. We're so hopeful and excited to see what changes will occur. I will do my best to keep you updated during the coming (busy) month of therapy.

I hope to post some pictures of the fundraiser at some point soon, but I don't know when I'll get to it. It's going to be a busy week as it is Elijah and my last week home. Thanks again everyone.

Friday, February 20, 2009

Elijah’s Fundraiser is this Sunday!

I can't believe that Elijah's fundraiser is this Sunday already. I feel like I'm a character in a movie and someone pushed the fast-forward button.

We thought it might be nice for everyone to see a list of some of the items that will be at the silent auction...

Con Agra Foods

Hand-bag: Swiss Miss drink mixes, ceramic mug, insulated mug, key ring light, letter opener, rain gauge, baseball cap, and oven mitt

Peace Luthern Church

Denim quilt

Peace Luthern Church

Two Easter wreaths

Shoe's Pub, Dick Shoemaker

1 Case of Yellow Tail wine


One night stay in a King room with whirlpool at Menomonie AmericInn


One night stay in a King room with whirlpool at Menomonie AmericInn


Two swimming punch cards for use at the Menomonie AmericInn

Pat Schierl-Spletter

Baby girl diaper cake

Junction Liquor

Wine, 750ml 2007 Crane Lake Riesling

Johnson Motors

Oil Change Card

Cardinal Glass

Cap, sweatshirt, polo shirt, and a kit including a mini maglight and a leatherman micra

Northtown Ford

Vehicle Clean-Up and Detail

Menomonie Market Food Coop

Giovanni Hydrate Body Lotion (2 bottles)

Anderson Ford of Baldwin

Free oil change

Red Cedar Medical Center

navy and gray t-shirts, Mayo Clinic Embody Health self-care guides, Mayo Clinic Healthy Weight book

Your Reflections Hair Salon

gift certificates

Acoustic Cafe

gift certificates

Chilson Motors

Girls longed sleeved gray t-shirt

Westconsin Credit Union

U.S. EE Savings Bond, soft sided cooler, BBQ tools

Holiday Gas

One card with 5 car washes

Mabel Tainter

tickets (production cost $12-$36)

Robert Giede Designs

Gift Certificate

MDMA (John Deere)

John Deere Toy 60 Tractor w/Picker Sheller

Lori's Uptown Floral

Gift Certificate


Rubber football, insulated travel mug, duffel/sports bag


Movie Passes

Smithery 11 Jewelers

3 sets of earrings and gift certificates

Private Donation

Jewelry Box, Naturally Hot Sauce , book (Best Friends), 4"X6" Photo Album , Scraper Foil Kit (Art Work), Large glass Mikasa vase, small gas grill, & BBQ tools

Keyes Chevrolet

Oil Change Card

Hoof and Paw

4 gift certificates for free vaccination with purchase of one vaccination

Green Mill

Gift Certificates

Jade Salon

Gift Certificate

Keith Karls

230T Tenor (4 string) banjo, Yamaha FG401 acoustic guitar and hardshell case

The Active Outlet

Camo Columbia vest, Menomonie High School hooded Sweatshirt, Menomonie High School baseball hats, small pair of fleece Grandma Pants, Northside Camo cold weather boots, (can be returned for different sizes or store credit)

Walmart Distribution

Sharp 37” flat screen HD TV

As a reminder, the Chili Supper and Silent Auction are from 4 to 6:30 this Sunday. If you have a winning bid, you must be present at 6:30pm to claim your item. Thanks!

We can't wait to see all of you there!

Tuesday, February 17, 2009

A Day in the Life...

I love this video our our little man. Don't mind his crazy mommy's commentary. :)

18 Month Check-up

Yesterday afternoon we had Elijah's 18-Month check-up with his pediatrician, Dr. Positive. I am pleased to report that I don't have much to report (but that's not going to stop me from writing down all of the details anyway!).

Dr. Positive seemed extremely pleased to watch Elijah walk around the room and was impressed with Elijah's ability to pivot around as well as side-step to avoid falling down. He basically told us to keep doing what we're doing. The thing I like about Dr. Positive is that he has always been supportive about HBOT. He doesn't seem 100 percent convinced that it does anything, but he can't argue that Elijah is doing well and that HBOT certainly didn't hurt.

The thing with HBOT is that it's so hard to prove. We don't have another Elijah who hasn't undergone HBOT to compare him to. We can only wonder what he'd be doing now if we'd never tried it. I think that Elijah would have walked without HBOT, but I don't think it would have happened this soon. (And - his therapists don't seem to think so either)

Andy filled out a checklist while we were at the clinic about autism, which is something they give to all parents. Dr. Positive mentioned that it would be difficult to diagnose a child like Elijah with autism because he has CP and developmental delays. Andy and I have always been aware that autism was a possibility given Elijah's seizures at birth and the brain injury he sustained. I don't really think Elijah has autism, but I do think he might have some autistic tendencies (like not being able to maintain eye contact for very long…which might be a part of his visual impairment). Who knows, and really, what does it matter anyway? Any diagnosis Elijah has is a direct result of the damage that occurred to his brain at birth. All of his diagnoses - CP, CVI, micro, etc. are a direct result of his injury. I guess I don't like to have these labels. Elijah is injured and he is who he is. No diagnosis is ever going to change who he is, nor can a diagnosis define him. I guess when you hear the words "severe brain damage" attributed to your child; most other conditions are no longer as scary as they once were.

Our Doc's Personal Pain is a Reminder for Us
Awhile ago, Dr. Positive mentioned that he has a nephew about the same age as Elijah who has an unexplained brain injury and is unable to move his body at all. Every time we see our doc, I ask about his nephew and I want to cry (and did once) when he tells us that nothing has changed and his nephew is doing "nothing". This is of course hard for our doc and it makes me want to make the pain go away. He shares this info with us easily and openly. I think he is trying to remind us how lucky we are that Elijah is doing so well. He has seen the other side of the coin and he knows what a miracle Elijah is. "A lot of answered prayers, right?" he said yesterday and I can see that he has real joy for us. I nodded and can't help but to feel guilty and sad that the prayers haven't been answered for their family. (Send some prayers up for them, would you? And all of the brain-injured kids in the world, whose bodies work against them? I am reminded once again how badly we need Christ's return.)

Eating and Weight Gain
I've been so incredibly worried about Elijah's eating habits as of late, so we discussed this with Dr. Positive. Elijah really won't eat much of anything. I know a lot of kids do this to their parents, but it's complicated by the fact that Elijah can't eat milk, eggs or peanuts and has difficulty chewing. And, he isn't yet able to pick things up to feed himself or able to hold a bottle (or cup) to drink. So, unlike other kids, he can't just go get something when he is hungry or thirsty. I'm not really worried any more after yesterday's appointment because Elijah is gaining weight and seems to be staying at about the same percentile (even with all of the walking he is doing!). And, it seems that Elijah is eating a bit better now that I've calmed down a bit. He can sense my stress and it makes him eat even less. So, I'm doing my best to stop worrying about it and it seems that Elijah is doing better eating now that I'm less freaked out about it.

For those of you interested in such things - Elijah now weighs 22 lbs. 4 oz, which puts him at the eighth percentile for his age. He is 33 inches long, which puts him at the 71st percentile. His head circumference is 16 and ¾ inches, which is a negative percentile. Overall, he is doing well, maintaining his weight and growing.

Dr. Postive didn't have much to tell us, which honestly, is a good thing. We really enjoy having him as a doctor. When we left, he gave us printouts as he always does, with Elijah's stats on it. He also had a page with patient instructions on it. "Have fun diving!" it said at the top. What a nice, caring, positive doctor we have for our son.

Monday, February 16, 2009

Eighteen Months

Little man turned a year and a half this past Saturday and once again I am in disbelief that another month has passed us by (I know, I know…I say that every month!).

Here are some tidbits about our one-and-a-half year old…

Walking and Exploring

Elijah is walking/half running all over the place. Now that the novelty of walking has worn off a little; Elijah is stopping more to experience the world around him. He will catch sight of a toy and stop to play with it momentarily. I can't even begin to describe the amount of joy I experience watching him explore the world around him.
Elijah is even starting to be naughty at times. He likes to play with the vertical blinds that hang in front of our patio door and watch them sway back and forth. Today he pulled off the towel that was hanging on the front of our oven and he likes to pull papers off of our coffee table. I can't help but rejoice over these things. The fact that he is capable of being "naughty" is a fantastic thing. Besides, he's not really being bad. He is simply exploring and learning about his world and I'm certainly not going to hold him back from learning. It's funny the things you will rejoice over when you don't know what your child will be able to do. Believe me, I am rejoicing!

Fine Motor Skills Improving
Elijah also seems to be improving in his fine motor skills. He walks over to walls and windows and touches them with both of his hands OPEN, which is so awesome. The more he walks, the more he seems to use his hands. I was even able to get him to rub his spoon on his lips a few times during meal time (and even put it in his mouth once!), which gave me renewed hope that Elijah will one day be able to feed himself. He will also pick toys up once in awhile on his own. Slowly but surely, his fine motor skills are plugging along too.

I think that Elijah has said "mom" a handful of times, but it has been so rare that I question if it really happened. So, we're still waiting for speech. I do think he is starting to make an "mmmm" sound during mealtime when he wants milk. And although he doesn't have any words, he definitely communicates with us in other ways and can understand a lot of what we are saying.

The Most Wonderful thing in the World!

I think my favorite thing that Elijah does now is walks over to me and raises his hands to have me pick him up. It makes me melt every single time. He'll be playing when he catches sight of me, gets excited, and walks to me laughing, holding his arms out to come and get me. Knowing that he loves me in this way is the most rewarding thing in the world. It's equally rewarding watching Elijah greet his dad at the door when Andy gets home from work, raising his arms up in anticipation of being held by his beloved daddy.

At eighteen months, I think the best word I'd use to describe our life with Elijah would be: fun. Oh, and challenging. He can be quite uncooperative at times…but I really wouldn't have it any other way.

Friday, February 13, 2009

The Elusive Sleep

Elijah has never been a very good sleeper. I should take that back, because at one point, Elijah was actually an excellent sleeper. Between two and four months, Elijah slept eight to ten hours straight - every night. We thought we were extra special, that because we had been through so much at his birth, God gave us a good sleeper. But, Elijah was still on Phenobarbital at the time and was probably groggy. Not to mention, he had a massive injury to his head at birth. That'd make anyone tired. Needless to say, his sleep habits have changed many times over these past eighteen months.

3 weeks old - the day we got to take him home from the hospital

When we got to bring Elijah home from the hospital, he was still extremely sleepy. We actually had to wake him up to feed him – something I never thought I'd be doing in my pre-parenthood days. (Don't they say: Never wake a sleeping baby!?) Eventually we stopped setting the alarm clock to wake him – he became quite capable of waking us up on his own. Then came the aforementioned glorious two months when Elijah slept through the night – and he has only done it a handful of times since!
I can't seem to figure the little guy out and I guess that's probably just part of the parenting ritual. You think you've gotten things figured out, when Wham!, everything changes again. The only time Elijah has been a really good sleeper is when we were doing HBOT. So, perhaps next month he'll be sleeping like, um, a baby.
On the rare instances Elijah has fallen asleep in the car, I take a picture.

Elijah sleeping in the car at 11 months old

Elijah sleeping in the car at 17 months old

Perhaps someday the boy will sleep through the night. Perhaps someday he will take naps without a fight. Perhaps someday he will curl up on the floor (and without any assistance from me) go to sleep. Someday. In the meantime, how can you resist this little sleeping face?

Little man sleeping peacefully at three months old

If I've learned anything since becoming a mom, you just never know what is going to happen next. Perhaps ten hours of uninterrupted sleep? Hey a gal can dream, can’t she?

Thursday, February 12, 2009


We got a helmet for Elijah early this week. It's called a Thudguard and it's intended for kids eight months to two years who are learning to walk.

In the past, I would have thought such a product was crazy. All kids fall, all are going to bump their heads and I've always figured that it was part of the learning process. That is, until I had a child who already has a severe injury to his head… We'd definitely like to prevent any more "owies" to that precious little noggin of his. Also, since Elijah's protective extension isn't fully developed (yet), he is more apt to fall and hurt himself. I don't foresee him wearing a helmet forever, just until he gets steadier and less likely to hurt himself with falls. As I understand it, protective extension first develops to the front, then to the sides, and finally to the back. He seems to have the protection to the front down (which is good since that's the way he usually falls) and will usually catch himself to the side - it's the protection when he falls back that worries us the most, as he doesn't seem to have it at all. In other words, when he falls backwards, he doesn't even seem to attempt to use his hands to protect himself. Fortunately, he usually keeps his head up when he does fall back so he at least tries to protect his head – or he'll stick out his butt to absorb the fall. I know he'll get there with more practice, but in the meantime we think the helmet is a good idea.

I have to admit, it was a bit painful when I realized the Thudguard (which is intended for infants) was a bit too big for our little guy. It was just a reminder that Elijah does indeed have a small head and as much as I'd like to hide from that fact, it's true. With some minor adjustments, the helmet fits fine.

Anyway, as far as helmets go, this one is really cute. It's the kind of cute that Elijah will look at pictures later in life and say, "Mom, really? Why would you make me wear that?" Ahh, the joys of being a parent. :)

Of course, Elijah hated it at first...(mommy is so mean!)

Isn't he cute? I think he looks like an adorable little bear.

What I love about these photos, too, is that they show how active he is these days. It's so great!

He even got to show off his new "hat" to Great-grandpa Lloyd (and Great-grandma Norma) today.

Monday, February 9, 2009

Fundraiser on February 22nd!

Hi Everyone!

Some of you have probably already noticed the flier on the right-hand side of the screen for Elijah's first official fundraiser.

Chili Supper & Silent Auction
Sunday, February 22, 2009
4:00 pm - 6:30 pm
Peace Lutheran Church
917 Seventh Street
Menomonie, WI 54751

Please see the flier for more information.

The silent auction includes a brand new Sharp 37" Flat Panel HDTV! So, if you've been looking to get a new TV, this is a great opportunity to support a great cause and get something really cool.

Also, we're trying to get a rough estimate on the amount of people coming, so if you could take the poll that is beneath the flier to the right, we'd really appreciate it. (If you've already told us you're coming, you don't need to vote)

It's been busy, busy, busy around here. I can't believe that Elijah will be starting HBOT three weeks from today. The fundraiser (and our month of therapy) will be here before I know it!

We're so looking forward to seeing all of you that will be able to make it on the 22nd! Thanks for all of the continued support.

Wednesday, February 4, 2009

Famous Boy Times Three

Elijah made his third appearance in a newspaper today! This time he made it into the Star News, our local newspaper. It was awesome to see his little face in the paper again and we loved that they put so many photos in with the article. Now everyone can see how cute he is. We're thankful for the exposure - not only for Elijah and his miraculous story, but also for HBOT. Perhaps someone else will look into it and be helped by it. (If you want to see the online version, click here).

It hasn't escaped us that the article just came out today and is already outdated. Who knew that when we gave the interview about two weeks ago – that he would be walking by the time it was published? I –for one – am in still in shock that Elijah is walking. I have to pinch myself when I turn around and find our boy not only standing, but then walking away from me. I often have to drop whatever I am doing to follow him. It's crazy fun and I feel so blessed.

Speaking of crazy fun, it's been so amusing to show off Elijah's new walking skills to his therapists this week. We saw Elijah's D.O., Dr. Loafer, today and he called Elijah's walking "amazing." Yesterday was Elijah's clinic-based therapy and his PT and OT were blown away.

His OT was excited and I was thrilled when Elijah actually took some pegs out of board by himself. His fine motor skills remain the most delayed and we're hoping that once Elijah gets bored with walking, he will focus more on using his hands to grab and his mouth to speak.

Then we saw Elijah's PT. I set Elijah on the floor and said, "Do you want to see Elijah's new trick?" His PT was in shock when he not only took steps, but started walking around the room. She kept saying, "That is UNBELIEVABLE!" She admitted that she hadn't expected Elijah to be walking independently for quite awhile. She was impressed with his ability to turn while walking; "That's hard," she said. She also told me that most kids when they start walking take a couple of months to get into standing by themselves and he's doing it already! She told me all sorts of encouraging things, like she's never really worked with a child quite like Elijah. She also said that none of the rules seem to apply to Elijah. She watched Elijah walk around the room and told me that his walking looks great – that he looks like any other kid would look when taking steps and when he gets himself into standing. I think she was utterly shocked and amazed at this huge change in his development and told us, "Congratulations" when we left for home.

I wish I would've gotten some of those reactions this week on video! It's been a great week for our famous little guy.

Monday, February 2, 2009

Absolutely Awe-maze-ing!

When Elijah was still quite little, I made some modified goals for him. I never wrote them down; I just kept them in a file in my head. I wanted him to sit up by nine months, crawl at 12 months, and walk by two years. I was thrilled when he sat up at 8.5 months, but discarded the goals when he didn't crawl by a year. After that, I learned to relax a little and stopped trying to figure out when Elijah would do things. I can't even begin to describe how happy I was when he started to crawl. I still get a thrill seeing him crawling around the floor going from one room to the next. And the walking…I didn't know when that'd happen, but even with my crazy optimism, I believed it was still a long way away

At our last appointment with Dr. Nice Guy (Elijah's rehabilitation medicine doctor), he said he wanted to see us in three to four months. Elijah had just started crawling and I said, "Hey, maybe he'll be walking by then!" Dr. Nice Guy shrugged his shoulders and said something to the effect of, "Well, I suppose it's possible." It was obvious to us that he didn't expect Elijah to be walking in that amount of time, but being the Nice Guy he is, he was still…nice. J Let's just say we're looking forward to having Elijah walk into his office in early April!

I have to admit, though, even I didn't expect this so soon...

Elijah and I had quite the thrill showing his Early Intervention PT his new found skills this afternoon. I think the word she used was, "Amazing!" and I'm pretty sure we made her day. J

Yep, he's absolutely amazing all right. I wonder what God has in store for our little guy. If you want to know if prayers make a difference, just watch that video one more time, because somehow amazing doesn't even do it justice.

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