Friday, December 31, 2010

The Last Post of the Decade (Don't Expect Too Much)

We're still alive. Thought I'd let you all know before a new decade begins.

It's been quiet in Elijahland for two main reasons:

1) Elijah's sleep habits have changed - and not for the better. We think it's actually a good thing - in that it seems to be a developmental change (he wants us to stay and snuggle him all night). Regardless, we're pretty tired as we try to figure out why our bad sleeper (turned good sleeper) has become a bad sleeper again.

2) Andy and I have been working with a nutritionist on a diet and exercise plan for a few weeks now. It takes time to be healthy, to exercise, and to count calories. Although I'm really tired because of reason number one and sometimes feel overwhelmed by trying to change our lives, I'm really happy that we're making this change for our health.

So there you have it: The My Dog Ate My Homework Excuses for not blogging lately. Thanks to each and every one of you for sticking around and reading this little land of ours. I'll see you in 2011! :)

Monday, December 13, 2010

He Hugged Me

I know I've talked more than once about how Elijah hugs - by snuggling in on our shoulder.

The other night, Eli gave me a legitimate-arms-around-the-neck hug!

Andy had walked into Elijah's room to change an alleged dirty diaper.  When I walked into the room and sat down next to my boys, Elijah looked at me with elation, held out his arms and basically threw himself at me.  With his arms around my neck, he gave me a hug.

And I washed my cheeks with tears of joy.

Does it matter that he was trying to weasel his way out of a diaper change? Naw.

My boy hugged me. He really did it.

Wednesday, December 8, 2010


Lately, Elijah has been such a sweetheart.  He's giving us kisses before bed and showing an interest in a stuffed animal, his penguin that we've dubbed "Pengi" (we are so original, I know!).  Up until a few months ago, Elijah could have cared less about stuffed animals.
One night before bed, I kept asking Elijah to give me a kiss.  I kissed Pengui, so Elijah took Pengui from me and gave him a kiss too.

"Elijah can you give me a kiss?" I asked multiple times.

Instead of giving me a kiss, though, Elijah grabbed my hand and took it to the edge of the bed, but I couldn't figure out what he wanted.

"Elijah, can you give me a kiss?" I asked again.

The little man looked right at me and shook his head no, with a little boy smirk on his face.

It was so appropriate. He was telling me.

And then he grabbed my hand again and brought me to the edge of the bed again.

"Elijah, do you want mommy to leave?"

Huge smile.

Our son doesn't have words, but sometimes, this kid's communication is crystal clear.

Elijah totally rejected me and somehow it made me feel great. Isn't that just what little boys are supposed to do?

Monday, December 6, 2010

A Milestone

Eli's monster towel lost his first tooth! They just grow up too fast, don't they? ;)

Friday, December 3, 2010


Not too long ago, I was sitting in the lobby of a doctor's office.  I watched as a little girl was reunited with her mom after a short separation.  The girl turned around and when she saw her mother standing there she smiled and ran into her mother's arms hugging her.

I almost started crying right there in the lobby.

Not because it was a beautiful sight, which it was, but because I realized I'd never experienced that very thing. My child has never run into my arms, never been thrilled to see me.  It hurt, so I looked away.

It wasn't until later that night when I realized I have had that same experience. It may not look the same, but I do know what it's like for my child to get excited when he's reunited with me after a short separation.

Whenever I pick Elijah up from preschool, I watch as he walks down the hallway with his teacher or teacher's aide.  He happily stomps his feet on the floor and distractedly looks around as the teacher tries to steer him to me.

I crouch down and when we're close enough that our faces are almost touching, Elijah recognizes who I am and makes his excited noise (which sounds like the noise you'd make if you were about to get into a car accident - an inhaling Huuuuuuh sound).  Then he places his head on my shoulder for his version of a hug.

Then there was one morning last week - I didn't want to get out of bed so Andy brought Elijah into our room and placed him in my arms.  He made his same "Huuuuuh" excited sound, kissed me on my cheek and gave me the biggest hug. Unsolicited affection from our boy is rare, so I drink it in. The kid was excited to see me, which was all the caffeine I needed.

So, no, my child has never run expectantly into my arms, but I do know the pleasure of our own reunion.  Turns out, it's just as sweet.

Wednesday, December 1, 2010

Stair Master - A Year Later

Elijah has been working on navigating our stairs for a long time.
He's gotten really good at climbing the stairs. He can walk without holding onto anything, but I'm happy to report he will reach out to touch the wall for support if he needs the help.
As I took pictures of him today, he kept looking back at me. And making me a little nervous about falling. And making my heart melt. Oh, the sly grin in the following photo...seriously, my heart is a pile of mush.
When it's time to come back down the stairs, Elijah starts out holding onto the wall. Excellent!
He soon decides that sliding down on him bum is easier.
And might I add - definitely a lot more fun!
Oh, how I love this boy. Sometimes I can't believe he's mine. What a lucky gal am I!

Tuesday, November 30, 2010

On Days Like Today...

...I kind of wonder why I insisted that I'd drive Elijah to preschool instead of having him take the bus.
Or why I live in Minnesota for that matter. 
I have to say though, it was a beautiful day. I think I need a cup of hot chocolate. Drink one with me, will you?

Monday, November 29, 2010

Up and Running

I can't believe I haven't written this update yet...we're back up and running in terms of ABA therapy!

That means Elijah was out of therapy for a total of three weeks due to our insurance snafu (we started up again last week with three half days).

I have to say, I'm pretty proud of Andy. He was the one who made all the right phone calls and talked to the right people. Without him, who knows how long we would've been out of therapy.  It turns out our insurance does indeed cover ABA therapy after all.

And get this: Andy actually got a phone message from someone at our insurance company with a apology and an admittance that our case had been mishandled. How often do you think that happens?  It pays to be persistent, I'd say.

I'm sure some of you have been wondering and praying for us and for that we are so grateful.

So, there you have it - we're up and running again.  Yet another thing for which we are definitely thankful.


Oh, and the pictures? They're snowmen made by Andy and me. My mom asked in a comment if Andy finished the snowman he was making in the Snow Day 2010 post.  Yes, he did. And I made one too.  I'll let you decide which snowman was made by Andy and which one was made by me. ;)
I love this picture of my favorite man :)

Thursday, November 25, 2010


We're counting our blessings and giving thanks.
Oh, and eating a lot.
And definitely having fun.
Happy Thanksgiving people! I'm thankful for each and every one of you who come to Elijahland to check on us.

Thursday, November 18, 2010


Ellen over at Love That Max is hosting a blog carnival where we share a favorite photo of our child. Go check out all the cute kiddos!
I honestly don't have a favorite photo of Elijah. If you haven't noticed, I have taken a lot of pictures of our little boy over the last 3+ years. 
This is one of my favorites...
Taken at our dinner table, Elijah was 7 months old in this picture. That night we were having tortellini and Elijah could not stop giggling. He wasn't eating pasta at that age, of course, but he thought the word tortellini sounded hilarious.
Oh, the toothless grin, the rosy cheeks that were surely a sign of his food allergies, the hair standing straight up, the drool and spit-up soaked shirt, the dimples, his head ridge that I blissfully tried to ignore, his perfect little eyebrows - it's all an accurate representation of a happy night.  Our lives back then were constantly filled with worry about what Elijah's future would hold, but on nights such as this we knew (one way or another) everything was going to be all right. 
Time and perspective tells me that things are all right. We're one happy tortellini family - except we can't eat tortellini. ;) No worries - we still giggle at the dinner table. 

Wednesday, November 17, 2010

Snow Day 2010

We had our first snowfall of the season this past weekend. It was glorious.
Elijah really wanted to go outside, so out we went.
This year's first snow of the season? I think it was my favorite ever.  It was so beautiful and we had so much fun together as a family.  Plus, I think Elijah invented a new sport - extreme swinging (I was kind of surprised he still fit in his swing with his snowsuit on!). 

Right now I'm loving snow. Ask me how I feel about it in February - unfortunately I'm sure love and snow will not be in the same sentence when you ask me then.

Anyway, our Snow Day 2010 will go down in history as a really good day (it was the conclusion of A Day in Our Life).
Want a blast from the past? Check out our first snow from last year.

Saturday, November 13, 2010

A Day in Our Life

This is the day the LORD has made; let us rejoice and be glad in it. Psalm 118:24
What a wonderful Sabbath we're having. Last night I made spinach dip.
Elijah, otherwise known as dimple face, consumed his first ever appetizer and he approved.
Then we had lasagna!
And hot apple cider.
After dinner, we enjoyed a fire in our fireplace (I love how this setting on my camera made Eli transparent).
Even though he'd already had some, Elijah tried to steal his dad's cider.
This morning, I decided it was probably time to pack away my fall candles (even though I love them so!)...
...because we woke up to this...
Elijah really enjoyed watching the snow fall.
Andy made these amazing cinnamon roll biscuits for breakfast.  The three of us gobbled them all up. Yum!
Did any of this seem strange to you? Did you remember that Elijah has pretty severe food allergies to egg, dairy and nuts? All of the food in this post was Elijah-safe. Yes, we made spinach dip, lasagna and cinnamon rolls without dairy or eggs!  What a joy to give our boy yummy foods that we can all eat together. I can't tell you how excited I was to feed Elijah lasagna (one of my favorite foods).
Then we went outside and played in the snow (more pictures to come).
There you have it - a day in our allergy-safe Sabbath life.
The end. :)
If you're interested-
The Spinach dip and Cinnamon biscuits are from the book What's to Eat?
The lasagna from The Marketing Mama blog.

Thursday, November 11, 2010

In Which Elijah has a Temper Tantrum in a Store - and That's a Good Thing

The other day Elijah and I went to our closest food co-op; it's the best place to buy fun allergy-safe items for Elijah.

The little dude was sitting in the cart when I showed him what I was buying him - some animal cookies.

When I put it in the cart basket behind him, he freaked out.  He wanted some of those animal cookies and he wanted them NOW.  We walked to the next aisle and I showed him the coconut milk I was buying him. Anything I picked up, he wanted. Mac n' "chreese" - he wanted it. Cereal - he wanted it. Coconut yogurt - he wanted it.  These were things I was already buying him - the point is that he saw that I was holding food and he wanted to eat it. Why, oh why, was I showing him things and then not feeding them to him?

He started screaming and crying and biting himself. The biting himself part isn't so great, but the part about being upset that I wouldn't give those things to him? AWESOME.

I know this is a common occurrence for most parents - the whole tug of war in stores over what's going to be purchased and kids having temper tantrums over the things on the shelves.  It's probably very annoying (and legitimately so). But, for us, this whole acting up over something Elijah sees is pretty amazing.

You have to understand that for the past three years Elijah hasn't always shown awareness of his surroundings.  The reason for this is multifaceted, of course. Recently, however, I feel like he is taking in more of his surroundings.  He's noticing things he never noticed before. Being able to recognize and see familiar packaging in a store is a pretty amazing feat for a little guy who just so happens to have Cortical Visual Impairment.  For a kid with CVI, it's hard to filter out all of the clutter. It's not that he can't see, it's that sometimes seeing is just so overwhelming.

He's also noticing what we're eating or drinking and is no longer content with what's on his plate.  He has the whole, "I'll have what she's having" mentality. He's noticing the world around him more.

So when my kid has a temper tantrum over a snack in my hand in the store, I get kind of excited. He doesn't know it, of course. I try to get him to calm down, but inside I'm glowing.  So if you see a crazy lady at the store smirking while her kid his trying to bang his head on the cart while biting his hand, it just might be me. Hi!

Next up, I hoping for a temper tantrum over something that he notices on the shelf instead of in my hand.  Yep, I hoping for more temper tantrums (preferably the-non-hand-biting kind, please), because behind all of the screaming is a pretty amazing accomplishment.

Wednesday, November 10, 2010

Cupcake Face

Speaking of cupcakes...
...Elijah likes them. :)
And is it just me or is he looking more boy than toddler these days? I guess technically he's a preschooler (still trying to wrap my mind around that one). Whatever we call him, he's just looking so much more grown-up. The kid seriously kills me with his cuteness - even more-so with chocolate cupcake all over his face. 
Now what are you waiting for? Go turn yourself into a cupcake face.

Tuesday, November 9, 2010

Our New Diet?

Andy and I have been trying to take better care of ourselves.  We're exercising five days a week and trying to eat well. For the most part anyway...
But, we have a new solution!
Yesterday Andy sent me an email about a new diet we could try.  Go read it.
I think this means I can eat these allergy-safe cupcakes (that I technically made for Elijah) every day right?
Mmmm, cupcakes
Seriously, though, what I take from this professor's experiment is that portion size is essential - something that tends to be difficult for me. It's fascinating that he was able to eat unhealthy and the data showed that he was healthy. Personally I think eating horrible will catch up with you, but in moderation it's probably fine. I just found this so interesting - it just goes against everything that we're told about health. 
Don't worry, I'm not going on the twinkie diet.  
What do you guys think? 

Monday, November 8, 2010

Can I Just Say?

I DO NOT like Daylight Savings Time. I do not like it Sam-I-am.

I do not like it here or there, I do not like it anywhere.
We tried to keep Elijah up later last night so that he'd get adjusted to the new DST schedule.  We generally go cold turkey when it comes to time change. I don't prepare ahead of time, slowly trying to get my child accustomed (mostly because DST sneaks up on me). Instead of conking out when we did put Elijah to bed, he was up until 9:30 and up at 5:30.  I guess that technically is eight hours of sleep, but a little dude needs more than that.  And this mom (who never goes to sleep when her boy does) needs more than that.
Can't say I've ever liked DST, but ever since becoming a mom I've loathed it. I mean, you get your child in a schedule finally and then it gets all messed up. Woohoo, time to fall back? Another hour of sleep? Um, no. Nobody tells a baby or toddler to sleep according to the clock.
I'm awake, really!
I don't like it Sam-I-am. I'm tired.

Are you with me moms? Dads? Anyone? How do you feel about DST? Please tell me someone is as loopy as me this morning (I mean, I am posting sleepy pictures of myself on the internet, if thats not loopy I don't know what is.)

Friday, November 5, 2010


I know it's been pretty silent in Elijahland for almost three weeks. Three weeks!

A lot has been going on in our household and I want to fill you all in, but for now just this short update...

Insurance is a pain in the bum. 

Yep, I think that pretty much sums things up.

After (about) three months of ABA therapy, we got a call this past Sunday night and were told that our insurance has started to deny claims and that our service was being suspended until we can get it all figured out. We've had no ABA services this week. None.

Our new normal of constant therapy, the normal I felt like I was finally getting accustomed to, is gone.  Elijah is bored, honestly.
Corn or insurance, Andy is an excellent maze navigator
So, now we're navigating this maze, trying to figure out how we're going to finance this therapy that has been so beneficial to Elijah.  There are other options, other routes we can take.  I just wish things weren't so complicated, you know? And I'm thankful for Andy, he's the kind of guy who gets things done.  He's become a good navigator in the past three years.

The most frustrating thing is that our little boy is the one caught in the middle. He's the one whose life gets turned upside down as a result.  And that, folks, just isn't right.

We'll figure it out.

Monday, October 18, 2010


Elijah seems to be thriving in ABA and preschool.  He is so happy these days, calm and content and happy. He's busy and he loves it. He soaks in all of the extra attention he's getting.
Change is never easy. Sending our boy to preschool hasn't been easy for me, nor has inviting multiple people in our house to do ABA therapy.  Not easy, but it is the right thing to do for Elijah.  I'm learning that as a parent sometimes you must do what is best for your child, even if that something is difficult (or even painful) for you. 
I have to let go of what I thought parenthood would be like and let our life unfold in front of us. As I do, I see what a beautiful thing it is.  It's different than I had imagined, but it's just as amazing as I had thought it would be.

Wednesday, October 6, 2010

Ask and You Shall Receive

This morning, Elijah wakes up in his bed and starts to make whiney, "I want to get out of bed NOW!" noises.
"Can you let Elijah out of bed?" I mumble and flip the opposite direction from Andy.
I hear Andy get out of bed, shut the gate at the top of the stairs, unzip Elijah's bed, "Good morning, Elijah," and he gets back into bed with me.
Footsteps. Fast footsteps.
"Let's go downstairs," Elijah says with his talker at the top of the stairs. 
"Let's go downstairs. Let's go downstairs. Let's go downstairs."
Elijah is in our room, standing at the foot of our bed. He shouts/growls/whines something that sounds a whole lot like, "Mom" in a tone that's the equivalent of a small child pulling on your pants. 
"Let's go downstairs."
I spring from bed, open the gate and we go downstairs. 
Ask and you shall receive, my boy.

Sunday, September 26, 2010

Love/Hate Relationship

I have a definite love/hate relationship with the Fall. Essentially, I love it. But it hates me.
Pure evil
The ragweed starts to grow in August and I get sick.  My favorite season is definitely tainted by these yellow flowers that paint the ditches everywhere I go. I've been glad to see that their color is starting to fade.  Soon it will be cold again in Minnesota and I'll be able to breathe again.  But it will be COLD, so I'm trying to enjoy these awesome autumn days even though the outdoors is trying to kill me. 
I love where we live. There are cows in the field that is adjacent to our yard.  Hearing and seeing these cows when I'm outside makes me happy. We live in town, but I can pretend I live in the country.
And Elijah? Well, he loves every season.
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