Thursday, December 22, 2011

Just Me and My Dad

I love to watch Elijah with his dad.

Watching them take an impromptu snooze on the couch on a Sunday afternoon...
or seeing Elijah help Andy as he tried to fix the squeaks in our floor.
Elijah is helpful like most kids are (which is not very helpful at all, right?).
 He is one of the cutest little helpers I've ever seen, though. It's great to see him take an interest in what Andy is doing.
And best of all, he loves spending time with his daddy.

Blessed? Yes. Yes, we are.

Friday, December 16, 2011

Singing His Heart Out

Elijah doesn't quite grasp the concept of a microphone just yet...

Monday, December 12, 2011


    The night Max wore his wolf suit and made mischief of one kind
    and another
    his mother called him "WILD THING!"...
 -Quote from the children's book Where the Wild Things Are

Trying to figure out how to reach the cord for his stereo
I find myself muttering the word, "mischief" a lot these days. Elijah climbing or teetering on the edge of the couch, pulling his stereo off of the shelf, or kicking toys around the house to use them as stepping stools are common occurrences these days.

It reminds me so much of the book, Where the Wild Things Are.

Pure mischief.

The thing is, mischief is a good thing. I keep reminding myself of this. Elijah is in another exploration mode, trying to figure out how things work, how his body moves, and even how we will react when we find him in mischief.

The other night, Elijah climbed into bed, stood up and starting jumping - all while looking in our direction to see what we would do.


Sitting with Andy on the couch after Elijah was in bed, I had an epiphany. "I feel like we're going through the terrible twos with Elijah," I said. The terrible twos at four, that is.

"I just hope we don't get stuck in this phase for a really long time," Andy said. We sat in silence, both realizing that this parenting journey hasn't always been easy. We experience the same things a lot of parents do, it's just that the phases often come later and often last longer. And, yes, that can be hard sometimes.

With that said, it is a blessing too. We rejoice, momentarily, in the mischief ("Wow, Elijah was able to see the cord to the stereo, wonder what would happen when he pulled it, and bring his boombox crashing to the ground!"), before we move forward with stopping the behavior.

So, yes, I'm going a little crazy as Elijah gets into seemingly constant mischief. And I continually rejoice over the fact that he is able to get into mischief at all.  Sometimes the baby in the NICU flashes before my eyes and I remember where we've been.

Watching him climb on a chair to try and touch his boombox seems like a miracle. And, really, it is.

As is the boy we call our son.
"I didn't do it"

Tuesday, November 22, 2011

The Joy of Medium (and a Thanks!)

Walking in the kids section at Old Navy this past weekend, Andy pointed out all the cute animal hats for infants and children. I'd seen them all hanging on the wall, but had avoided them because hats make me uncomfortable.

You see, Elijah has microcephaly, which means that his head size is much smaller than average. Finding hats for him that fit properly can often be difficult. Consequently, shopping for hats can at times be depressing. It brings up emotions and memories that aren't always pleasant.
I remember shopping at the very same outlet mall when Elijah was just a tiny baby. We'd walked into a store with baby-Elijah looking for hats and I found one I liked. Extra-small. It was too big.

Staring at the wall of animal hats in Old Navy this past weekend, I almost didn't want to touch them. I picked up the owl hat, size small, and placed it on Elijah's head. He looked so cute, but the was just a bit too tight. I grabbed a medium and slid it on Elijah's head. It fit just right.

Elijah and I found Andy in another part of the store. Andy, almost reflexively, took the hat off of Elijah's head and looked at the tag.

"Medium?" he asked, looking at me.

 I nodded with a smirk and we rejoiced with knowing smiles.

Did Elijah need a new overpriced owl hat? No, but we couldn't resist the joy of a medium.


I wanted to thank you all for the love you've given us via comments here on Elijahland (and Facebook and email and in person) about our exciting news. Sharing our joy with all of you means so much to us and I seriously feel so incredibly loved. Thank you.

Friday, November 18, 2011

Yes, It's True

Elijah has an announcement to make...
He says, "Read my shirt."
Yes, it's true. Come May of next year, our family of three will become a family of four. We are beyond thrilled.

Tuesday, November 15, 2011

Leaves for Dinner

One of my favorite things about the Fall is playing in the leaves, of which we're never in short supply.
This year Elijah enjoyed swimming in the leaves, bobbing under the leafy surface so that we could barely see him.
Playing in the leaves every Fall has become somewhat of a family tradition.
It's an awesome sensory experience for Elijah.
A sensory experience of which Elijah takes full advantage.
Yes, he comes up from his leaf dives with a mouth full of leaves.
Hmmm, perhaps I should add a leaf dish to my meal plans. Elijah seems to enjoy it.

Wednesday, November 9, 2011


Elijah is standing behind me. Blowing air past his lips, Elijah makes a "craaahhh" noise.

"You're copying me aren't you, Elijah?" I ask.

Elijah smirks at me and laughs a little. He is copying me.

You see, I've had a bit of a cold lately. One of those annoying ones that causes you to be congested for a very long time and subsequently causes you to cough and blow your nose several times a day, even though you feel otherwise healthy (I'm already feeling much better, thank you).

I'll head to the bathroom to blow my nose and soon I hear the pitter-patter of Elijah-feet in my direction. He follows me to mimic the sound I make when blowing my nose.

This is pretty cool for our kiddo who's never mimicked much of anything we do (pretty cool indeed!). Elijah will sometimes imitate gross motor activities, but I really can't think of much that he has mimicked verbally. Even cooler is that he's been doing it all week. It's not just a one day thing or a one person thing (he's mimicked Andy too). Often when we've heard verbalization from Elijah we won't hear it again for six months, a year, or longer. It's a long time to wait.

So, when Elijah comes up to me and copies a noise I'm making? I'm beyond thrilled. He's really copying a sound with his mouth. I hope you all realize how profound it really is. Is it a word? Nope, but in my book it might as well be. That's how cool it is. Just tonight, I pretended to make the sound and Elijah did it too. "Craaaaah," he said, a smirk on his face. This back and forth verbalization is the beginning of speech, so yeah, it's pretty exciting.

Oh, and who cares if it's something gross? It's like a kid repeating that one thing you didn't want them to in an embarrassing setting. A parental rite of passage, don't you think?

{Also, how in the world am I supposed to spell this sound? Craaaah will have to do, I guess.}

Tuesday, October 25, 2011


As Elijah and I reached the door to the grocery store, the piece of paper I'd been clutching in my hand went flying 15 feet into the air, torn from me by a wind gust.

I laughed.

And then Elijah and I, hand in hand, went on a chase through the parking lot for my dry cleaning slip. As we ran, the paper stuck to a lamppost. Soon it was only a few feet away. Just as I bent down to pick it up, again it would be blown far out of reach.

I thought I was in a comedy routine. I was secretly hoping someone was watching on the security cameras. It was hilarious, like someone had tied a string to my paper and kept yanking it just out of reach.

I finally caught up to the slip of paper, but only after traversing the entire parking lot. Elijah thought it was hilarious. 

And this is kind of how my life feels lately, like a whirlwind. I think 2011 will go down in history as the busiest year ever - perhaps one of the most fun, too. I thought things might start slowing down now that it's autumn. No such luck. September has been a whirlwind. Oh, and October is almost over too?

I thought I'd better write an update for you all lest you think we've dropped off the face of the planet.

We're still here, chasing things, laughing as we go.

Here are some of the things we've been up to while I've neglected the blog...

Elijah went back to school for his second year of preschool (he loves school).
On one of the last hot days of the year, Elijah and I took Andy to the park we'd discovered on one of our adventures.
I turned 30 (really, that can't be true because I'm only 20!).
Elijah's aunt Casey got married to Tyler (congratulations you two!). 
We celebrated the Feast of Tabernacles in Galveston Island, TX.
So, there you have it. We're still alive and well. And we've been having a lot of fun while not here in Elijahland.

Tuesday, September 6, 2011


This picture gets me every time
September 4th was the anniversary of the day we got Elijah home from the hospital.

The day of his homecoming was one of the happiest of my life. It'd been a rough three weeks in the hospital, uncertain if our son would live, uncertain of what kind of future he would have. We knew a few things on this day four years ago...our precious son's brain was severely and globally hurt - but he was breathing on his own, he was eating orally, and he was the cutest thing we'd ever seen. So much was still uncertain...would he ever walk, talk, drive a car, get married? Four years later and we have some more answers, but certainly not all.

I'm a couple of days late, but every year I like to look back on that day we got our son home. I remember walking in the door, plopping myself down on the couch with our son, and crying tears of joy. I like to look at this picture and remember the relief, the feeling that everything was going to be okay. We had our son and that's all that mattered. He was finally ours and ours alone.

Home, finally. In our arms for good.

Thursday, September 1, 2011


This morning I pulled into the parking lot clenching my teeth, my hands clutched firmly on the steering wheel.

Elijah, in the back seat, had been crying on and off all morning. A couple of his ABA therapists are on vacation and we've had a lot of time off this week. Today, Thursday, there was nothing on our schedule at all. While I love having time off, I think Elijah misses therapy when he doesn't have it. He loves the constant activity, the constant attention. It's hard to admit, but sometimes I'm not enough for our boy.
I got out of our van and sat in the back seat beside Elijah, offering him his morning snack. He let me know that he wanted to eat, but he just kept crying. If you've never tried, it's pretty impossible to feed a crying child. "Please, Elijah, let's just eat," I pleaded impatiently. "We're going to go swimming." The promise of fun didn't phase Elijah; I'm not sure he understood.

I watched out the back of our tinted van windows as a couple of families pulled into the parking lot and unloaded their children from vans, lugging beach equipment and towels on their shoulders.

My eyes welled up. I wish Andy were here, I thought, feeling vulnerable and alone with our screaming child.
 Soon enough, Elijah stopped crying and it was my turn to lug beach equipment on my shoulder while also holding my favorite little man's hand.

This walk on the concrete sidewalk was the second time we'd walked it in the same morning. We'd gone earlier to check out the park upon a recommendation from one of Andy's co-workers/our friend (hi Ann!). I took Elijah on the slide, but soon he noticed the beach from quite a distance and wanted to go in the water (his Cortical Visual Impairment is no match for his aqua-man tendencies). I took him home to get us both changed into swim clothes, wherein lots of crying and screaming and thrashing and head-banging occurred. He doesn't easily forget an unanswered request.
Which brings us back to where I left off - finally arriving at the beach while holding Elijah's hand.

I laid a towel on the sand and then walked Elijah to the water. He was pretty much the happiest kid in the world. The beach was super nice and not too crowded. And while Elijah's been swimming plenty of times, this was my first solo trip. I was nervous. Elijah is getting big and controlling him can sometimes be difficult. Add water to that equation and it can be scary for my 5 foot 3 inch self. But, I did it. I took Elijah swimming by myself with no problems and we had a blast. Just another adventure for our record books.
 As Elijah was walking through the water, squealing and splashing, a father nearby told his daughter, "Look how much fun he's having. He's splashing. Can you tell him hi? Tell him what your name is."

His daughter clung to him, shy.

Elijah walked over to the dad, grabbed his hand and asked him to splash by moving his hand. The dad complied unphased.

The man's wife and I struck up a conversation. Both of them were so friendly. They continually encouraged their children to interact with Elijah, something I appreciate more than I can possibly express. They treated us with such kindness.

"Show Elijah your snail, Abby," the dad encouraged. "Look how happy Elijah is to be in the water," the mom said.
After about an hour in the water, Elijah was clinging to me, shivering - my signal that it was time to go home.

"It was so nice to meet you," I told the mom.

"What was your name again?" she asked.

"Lisa. And yours?"


Michelle and her husband totally made my day. I was feeling vulnerable and alone. They made me feel accepted. They didn't treat us like we were contagious when they noticed Elijah's differences. Just the opposite, they made an effort to befriend me and encouraged their children to do the same. I'm only wishing I'd gotten her contact info so that we could have gotten together again (someone needs to teach me the art of getting digits from other moms. Is it weird to ask? It seems kind of like dating and it just feels awkward).

I'm so glad that they were so nice. I've found that in navigating the world with a child who happens to have special needs, I've found plenty of nice people and very few mean ones. Good to know.


I don't have any photos from our adventure to the beach today since I was busy trying to make sure Elijah was safe. Instead, I've included these pictures from our annual camping trip earlier this summer.

Monday, August 29, 2011

Arch Nemesis

Dear Deceivingly-pretty-yellow-weeds,

I'd be okay if you never visited me ever again.

Your very presence means cool weather is on the horizon.

I'm not ready for you, ragweed. You hear me?

The summer had a late start in Minnesota and I was hoping for a late start to the fall.

Go away and let me enjoy the last weeks of warm weather sniffle free. Okay?

I don't think you're listening.

Stuffy Lisa

P.S. You're not as pretty as you think you are.

Thursday, August 25, 2011


Elijah is hitting his head...again.

I've written about his head-banging before, but haven't mentioned it in a really long time. That's because he wasn't doing it anymore. I'm not even sure exactly how we got him to stop or even exactly when it did stop, but it did. It had been several (six or more) months since I'd seen (or heard) Elijah hit his head on the floor (or wall or other hard object. We'd adjusted to a new normal, a normal that was calmer and happier, one that had very few self-injurious behaviors (all of which were hand-biting). The head banging was gone - completely.

And then it started again. A couple of weeks ago, we were woken by the sound of thud-thud-thud-thud-thud, the heart-wrenching sound of our child hitting his head on his bedroom floor.

"No, not again," I whispered in the darkness.

It brings me back to a hard time in my parenting life, when I would have to prevent Elijah from hurting himself many times a day, when I would sit next to my child and cry and wonder how I could live with so much heartbreak.

I don't get why this is happening again, why Elijah is resorting to his old ways instead of using the communication skills that have opened up his world.

But, I remember that we've been through this before and came out on the other side. This time isn't as bad as before. He's not doing it daily, multiple times a day. I have to believe that we will be able to get him to stop this behavior again, hopefully never to return.

In the meantime, I hold onto the good moments. Those precious seconds of dancing with my son, those times that he grabs my hand and pulls it toward himself asking me to tickle him again. I hold onto our laughter, the happy times we have together.

I hold onto that special moment Monday morning. Elijah, walking towards me, his arms reaching to find my hand to ask me to turn on our ceiling fan. His squinty eyes looking to me, his voice saying, "Moooooom," the m sound clearly book-ending the o.  It's a rare moment that I get to hear our son say my name and I hold onto it. I clutch it to me like a prized possession, holding it to my chest, never to let it go.

I wait until I get to hear my name again. I wait until I won't ever hear thud again. I know both will happen.

Friday, August 19, 2011


Growing up, when things got off track, my mom would always say we were on an adventure. Are you lost? It's an adventure! Your plans have changed? Another adventure! It's sounds like so much more fun than "you took a wrong turn" doesn't it? It's something I've taken to saying in my life when unexpected things (of any sort) happen.

I wanted to share some adventures from last week Tuesday. Elijah and I had such a fun day. And a really interesting night...

Eli had no therapy all morning (a rare occurrence in our life), so I decided we'd go on a little shopping adventure. When we got to the outdoor shopping mall, I noticed that there were a lot of small children with their parents waiting in line for something. Upon investigation, I found that they were in line to get their faces painted and then to watch a clown show. So, Elijah and I stayed to watch the show, a fun little adventure.
Out to lunch
Elijah liked the sound of all the kids laughing, but wasn't thrilled about the clowns. After a few minutes, we went on our way.  I can't blame him; I'm not much of a fan of clowns myself...not since that one time a clown tried to get me to kiss him at a carnival (but, that's probably a story for another day). Oh yeah, and then there's that movie It that I'd seen snippets of when I was a teenager on TV. Shudder.

Next, I took Elijah to a toy store, where I let him pick out a toy for his birthday. I was super proud of Elijah as he played with all sorts of unfamiliar toys, happily exploring the kid-heaven. You see, for much of Elijah's life, he's been scared of unfamiliar toys. The toy aisle wasn't a happy place, but rather a cry-inducing scary place for Elijah. I used to be the mom fleeing the toy department with a crying toddler - which probably seemed like a typical toy temper tantrum - when really we were running for dear life from an upsetting toy. Yes, sometimes some toys still make Elijah pout or cry, but on this particular day Eli was a toy store pro. It's the kind of thing that's a milestone, but no one even knows it. They don't have a box to check on the development charts about successful toy store trips, do they?

After the toy store, I bought a tea dispenser for myself that I'd been eying online. I thought it'd be perfect to use for Elijah's birthday.
Out to lunch with mom
By this time, it was lunch and I was faced with a I drive home to have lunch a bit late - or do I take Elijah out to eat at a restaurant by myself (a first for me)? I can't tell you how much my heart soared to be able to spend time with Elijah, just like the mom and son I saw sitting near the entrance while we waited in line to order our food. Eli and me, just another mother and son out to lunch together. Granted, I did end up eating my lunch on the way home since it is difficult to eat and feed Elijah at the same time. Even so, I was proud of myself for going out of my comfort zone and trying to keep Elijah corralled in a busy restaurant, with no one there to rescue me. A milestone for me and another adventure.
Asleep on the way home
That night, after Elijah was in bed, I was super excited to show Andy the glass tea dispenser I'd bought. I could tell he thought it was a silly purchase and I was trying to convince him of it's awesomeness while I pulled it out of the box. That's when I noticed that there was a chip in the side of the main part and I'd have to return it. Bummer. We started to discuss when we'd return it and went on with our night.

About an hour later, I was in the kitchen when I noticed something stuck to my left big toe. I used my other foot to simply sweep it away. A sharp shooting pain shot up through my body telling my brain that I didn't swipe off a crumb, but something more sinister.

"Oh.....Shoot," I said. "Oh no. That's not good" (These are the words Andy reports that he heard me say from the other room). It didn't take me long to figure out that the chip in the side of the tea dispenser had fallen on the floor and I'd just cut my foot with it - sliced it, in fact.
The culprit - an arrowhead piece of glass smaller than a dime
As I realized what had happened, I started freaking out.

"Oh, no. Oh, no. Oh, no. Andy, Andy, Andy. Oh, I don't know what to do. I don't want to go to the ER. I think I need to go to the ER. I don't want to go to the doctor. I don't want to wake up Elijah. Oh, no. I don't want to go. I think I need to go to the doctor," I rattled off, my body shaking, blood dripping on the floor like a leaking faucet.

Andy was super calm through it all, took a look at my toe and said he thought we needed to go to the ER. So, off we went for another adventure, waking Elijah up from his slumber.

I wasn't in much pain when we got to the ER and I was starting to hope that maybe I was overreacting. The doc took a quick look at my foot, however, and said, "Yeah, you're going to need stitches" as if he was afraid of what my reaction to that news would be.

"Okay," I said feebly.

As the doctor was stitching me up, Andy started talking about some of the ER trips that have happened in his family over the years. That got the doctor started on some ER tales of things he's seen.  I'll spare you the details, but let's just say he was quite qualified for the three stitches I needed in my toe.

"Um, you guys are not helping," I said as I lay on the crisp white hospital bed, my husband corralling a tired Elijah nearby.
Owie :(
The doctor finished up and reported, "I've cut my foot on glass before, but never that bad." Um, thanks, doc.

Now, over a week later, my toe is healing up nicely. I'm pondering how God created our bodies to regenerate and to heal. It's amazing, really.

So, there you have it, this is what an adventure filled Tuesday looks like for us. I can tell you one thing, life is always interesting, always keeping me on my toes (oh, I crack myself up).

Also, I think I've had enough adventures for a little while, thankyouverymuch.

Sunday, August 14, 2011


Happy Birthday little dude. We're forever grateful that you are ours.

Tuesday, August 9, 2011


Andy and I went on an getaway last month to celebrate our 7th anniversary, spending five nights away from the namesake of this little blog. So, while I know this is a blog about Elijah, today it's going to be about the two of us - the two parental units who govern this place called Elijahland.  Today I shall call this blog Lindyland (see what I did there...Lisa +Andy = Lindy. I know you're all amazed by my creativeness).

The past four years have largely been focused on Elijah and rightly so. But, it was time for Andy and I to get away and remember what it was like to be a couple. It was lovely. I came home feeling healthier physically and emotionally than I had in a long, long time.

So, while I felt guilty for leaving, it turns out we all survived our separation. The guilt wore off and we had an amazing time away.

When we got home, Elijah stomped his foot a few times to let us know of his dissatisfaction and then gave us big snuggles. He was fine without us, but he missed us and we him.

You know how people like to show off their vacation photos and you have to sit and pretend to enjoy looking at pictures of a place you've never been before? Yeah, that's going to be you now because I'm going to deluge you with photos now of our vacation in Door County, Wisconsin. 
The view we woke up to each morning
Swedish restaurant with goats on the roof
Attending our first ever fish boil
Delicious result of the fish boil
This is what I look like relaxed
This is what Andy looks like relaxed (and tired) enjoying breakfast at the Inn in which we stayed
A neat stone beach on Washington Island, WI
Lest you think the above photo looks romantic and secluded
We had some amazing pizza (yes, that's broccoli)
We went to an outdoor theater and saw The Importance of Being Earnest (this was a bonfire during intermission)
We rode Segways - I was terrified at first, but this was SO fun
We watched this sunset while eating at a French restaurant on our anniversary (siighhh)
Oh, it was a good, relaxing, missing-Elijah time. So glad I got over my guilt and went!

Do you guys ever get to go on a getaway with your spouse (or alone)?

Thursday, August 4, 2011


I've felt really scattered lately, like I've left pieces of me and scattered them all over the house. I suppose this has something to do with a quite busy month of July in which we've barely been home.

I'm just so behind it seems.

The good news? We've been having a ridiculous amount of fun. That would be why we haven't been home much. We had a amazing Independence Day weekend with our families, Andy and I went on an anniversary trip (huge amount of time all by ourselves!), and we went camping for a partial week where we lived in the lake (we thought about sleeping on floaties). Three partial work weeks in a row and I'm having a hard time getting by into the groove of things again. It's also why I've once again broken my word and have been not blogging like I said I would. I hate it when I don't keep my word.

So, we're still here, somewhere. Underneath a pile of laundry that never seems to end, papers that continually need to be sorted, emails that need to be responded to (I'm possibly the worst emailer in all history), and lots of fun that continues to bury us (poor us). If you don't hear from me these days, it's because I'm outside (or digging my way out of Mount Washmore).

My computer has been super lonely lately. Sorry puter.

Don't worry, I always come back. You can't get rid of me that easy.

Wednesday, July 6, 2011

He Likes Sparklers

Is it really July already?
I hope you all had an awesome Independence Day weekend. We did!
Related Posts Plugin for WordPress, Blogger...