Friday, January 30, 2009

Elijah screams (with glee) during bathtime

Bathtime is torture, as every parent knows. Elijah has been especially unhappy about getting shoved into the tub, but we've seen signs of hope. Two days ago, I tried a new technique I picked up from Melody, our weekend nurse. I ran the bath while Eli was out of the room, where he couldn't hear the water running. It appears to be the SHRRRR sound of the faucet that sets him off. He got in and immediately started splashing his hands up and down with gusto. When a toy would float by, he's dunk it and laugh, or bat it away and watch it float. The only time he started crying was... wait for it... when I tried to get him OUT of the tub. Way to go, kid.

He is also learning about direction. He likes to hold my hands and scoot on his little boy bottom across the floor, and tonight I pulled him from the living room to the kitchen. I tried to aim him back toward the living room, but he refused to turn the correct direction. At last I figured it out--he wanted to walk to the staircase instead of the living room! His Grandpa Ken has taught him to "crawl" up the stairs, and it's one of his favorite things to do. And so, to reward him for remembering which way was upstairs, I did indeed walk him to the foot of the stairs, then one-by-one up to the top, then PLOP PLOP back to the bottom, and so on three more times. There's a tiny little muscle in my back that hasn't forgiven me, but Elijah is just to cute to deny.

Keep praying.
Dave the Dad

Monday, January 26, 2009

Elijah hits the big time

Elijah has been accepted into the program at the Little Light House in Tulsa. We are thrilled that he will have this unique opportunity to learn, grow and develop. He's ready to start the very next day the school is in session. We're being pounded with ICE right now so school has already been cancelled tomorrow...so his first day of school will have to wait, for now, but it is right around the corner.

Elijah's runny nose is resolved, mostly, and he is in great spirits. I know in my heart he is ready for a new challenge...a new chapter in his extraordinary journey. David will accompany Elijah on his first day and stay near during the five hour school day. Please pray for all of us through this transition. David remains sleep deprived as he meets Elijah's nightly needs. We all need David to get a good night's rest every night so that he can fully provide for Elijah.

Let me be the first to admit that I put Elijah on the waiting list at the Little Light House thanks to strong encouragement from my dear friend Diane Davies. Eli was only three months old and I was still in a place mentally where the whole situation made little sense. I honestly didn't believe Elijah would need the LLH, but I'm a planner and the planner in me took over, I filled out the application and showed up for the required tour of the facility and left. The tour was really hard for me to swallow. To see the children with all of their differences. I cannot explain it to those of you who haven't walked in these shoes, but part of me knew I was looking at my dear son's future and it was haunting.

I've come a really long way in two years at accepting this reality, but I find myself still thinking "why Elijah," way more than I should. I am so thankful that Tulsa has the Little Light House and that Diane's encouragement sent me to put him on the two-year waiting list when I did. I know the Little Light House is right for Elijah.

Thank you all for taking Elijah's journey with us and for stepping with us into this next chapter with the wonderful people at the Little Light House, which is provided tuition-free to children with extraordinary circumstances 0 to 6 years old. In the next few years, expect to read much more about the Little Light House on Eli's blog.

Sophia is excited to have another stay home day tomorrow. I am not thrilled to have ice on the roads, sidewalks, power lines, trees, grass blades...well, every inch of outside. I will survive.

Thank you for your prayers and concern for our sweet baby boy. He thrives thanks to you!

With love and gratitude,
Melissa

Monday, January 19, 2009

Girl Scout Cookies from Sophia

Sophia is a first-year Girl Scout and she is selling the famous Girl Scout cookies right now. You may send me your pre-order at melramirez22@yahoo.com. The cookies are $4 a box, but if I need to ship them to you, please add $1.50 per box...locals or soon-to-visit out-of-towners, I'm happy to get them to you in person. The cookies will be in hand March 1. You may also select to buy cookies to be donated to the soldiers through Blue Star Mothers.

Cookie offerings:
Thin Mints
NEW Lemon Chalet Cremes (vanilla sandwich cookie with a hint of Cinnamon-ginger spice and a refreshing zesty lemon creme filling)
Trefoils (shortbread cookie)
NEW Dulce De Leche (Latin-inspired cookie with milk caramel chips and stripes)
Sugar free Chocolate Chip
Dosi Dos (oatmeal cookie with peanut butter filling)
Tagalongs (cookies topped with peanut butter and covered with chocolate coating)
Samoas (vanilla cookies covered with caramel, rolled in toasted coconut and striped with chocolate)

Sophia is accepting orders to reach her 100 box goal. You may e-mail orders to me melramirez22@yahoo.com.

Love to all,
Melissa

Sunday, January 18, 2009

Eli's scooting

Elijah is doing very well despite having a really, really runny nose and watery eyes. He has mastered his laying down scoot and is working on his sitting up scoot. He loves to scoot around on his rear end with someone holding his hands or around his waist. If I let go, he reaches back with his good arm as to say "hello, I'm still scooting here." So cute and irresistible.

Love to all,
Melissa

Tuesday, January 6, 2009

Ramirez Theatre Presents (3 of 3)

3. Happy Birthday Elijah! (It's a Festivus Miracle)

video

On Sophia's first birthday, my wife Melissa placed our daughter in front of a chocolate cake and allowed her to eat as much of it as possible. I was horrified, but honestly, I can't remember why. We did the same thing with Elijah on his first birthday, and he looked so wonderful digging into that cake. Having said all that, if I'd known the plan this year was to set Elijah in front of the ONLY cake, the one we were about to serve to about 18 family members, I might have raised a word of caution or two. Honestly, I don't know why I bother.

And yes, you read correctly, Elijah's birthday falls on Festivus (the holiday for the Rest-of-us). Google the term if you must, but my grandparents knew exactly what it was. Grandpa Marvin suggested that we place a Festivus pole in the center of the living room during Eli's party, and he thought the IV pole in Eli's room would be the perfect ironic centerpiece. Next year, please be sure to send Elijah your fondest birthday and Festivus wishes concurrently. He shall, in turn, air his grievences regarding his father.

Ramirez Theatre Presents (2 of 3)

2. Sophia - A Star Is Born

BONUS FUN FACT: Her new pet is a... HAMSTER. She named it Princess.

video

If it sometimes feels like all our attention on this site goes toward Elijah and never to Sophia, I guess there's a reason for that. Melissa and I are very proud of all the amazing people who've helped Elijah over the past two years, and this blog serves (with amazing effectiveness) as a place to thank those people, find new helpers, and provide updates to all those who pray for our little soldier. Sophia, on the other hand, doesn't always belong on Eli's blog. That's not to say she doesn't belong in the spotlight; on the contrary, she has earned her place at the microphone, and her outgoing personality and desire to self-improve have made her one of my best friends.

But while Elijah seems, almost by necessity, to live under a microscope of international proportions, his mother and I are doing our set-level best to keep Sophia's life as non-broadcast as possible. When Elijah demands our attention, we do our best to provide equal time for the girl. When Elijah is in surgery or traveling out of state, we keep Sophia occupied with friends and family so she doesn't have to carry the burden of worrying about him. Sophia is destined, by virtue of being Elijah's sister, to have an extraordinary perspective on life, hopefully one of indepth empathy and hope. The same is true for everyone who knows him. Having said that, to the best of our ability, Eli's journey has the potential to force her to grow up too fast, and we will do our best to keep that from happening. It's one of the trickiest tightropes we walk, but what's one more?

We'd like to thank everyone who sent Christmas gifts to both Elijah and Sophia. We made certain those gifts were addressed to "The Best Big Sister In The World," and we explained that they came from people who pray for Elijah and who think Sophia is doing a great job. They're right, she is.

- Dave

Ramirez Theatre Presents (1 of 3)

Elijah is definitely responding more to sounds after his tube surgery. His nurse Kim says that when Dora the Explorer is talking to the cows and the cows talk back, Eli is mimicing the "moooo" sound. That's breathtaking. Our goal, of course, is to improve his speech. He seems to hear so many different kinds of sounds, but he still isn't forming words. Pray that we make some progress in the next week as we consult with speech and nutrition therapist. (Why nutrition? If Elijah can transition ever-so-slowly to solid foods, it will improve his mouth's ability to attempt speech-related tasks. Obviously we can't afford to risk any weight-loss, but the whole this is such a delicate balancing act, and we've got to start somewhere. Like I said, PRAY.)

Now sit back and enjoy some videos:

1. Merry Christmas from Elijah and Family

video

Sunday, January 4, 2009

Tubes dudes tomorrow

Elijah remains snotty, coughy and semi-miserable, but his planned tube placement remains. We have to be at the clinic in the morning bright and early. Eli is the first surgery of the day, which should help the whole thing go a little easier. We want him to have tubes and we are counting on the tubes really helping his hearing and speech, but we don't want him in any extra danger, so we are ready for a cancellation if necessary.

Sophia has a pet.

Sophia has been asking for a pet for just about as long as she could. We've told her that Eli has to be bigger and this week her argument was "Eli is bigger." She's right, he is bigger and we didn't specify how big he had to be. Anyway, Sophia has a pet. Her requirements included furry, fluffy and one she could hold. Guesses on what?

Pics to come.

Love to all,
Melissa

Friday, January 2, 2009

B-day photos







Tubes Dudes

Elijah is scheduled to have his tubes replaced on Monday. We'll see if that appointment sticks because Eli has a bad cold...again. Pray he will get over it and surgery will proceed as planned. We hope the new tubes will open Elijah's hearing to new levels and his speech will begin to develop. The doc opted not to do anything additional at this time.

I promise David will post a video soon and I will post photos. Couldn't find my camera at press time today. : )

Wishing you each a 2009 with only good surprises!

Love to all,
Melissa