Saturday, December 26, 2009

Christmas Photos

This Christmas was obviously a quiet one at home for us. With our need to keep Eli safe, it really limits our options. A couple weeks ago, we were able to see Christmas Tree Lane, since it didn't require us leaving the car. We have also had tremendous support from two of our dearest friends, who have taken our precautionary practices upon themselves, so they are able to be at least one piece of "social" for us. There's simply no way we could communicate how humbling and great this is for us, nor offer enough thanks.

Here are some glimpses into our Christmas this year, Eli's first. He continues to be such a happy, smiley boy, and continues to bring us so much joy. With Paige now three years old, we've begun to forge our own holiday traditions. Paige helped make candies. Below, she dips pretzel sticks in caramel before also dipping them in chocolate then crushed almonds. Yummm!!! Randy and Laurie brought Paige a few games for Christmas. Paige really looks forward to seeing them, and they're so great at having the time and patience to enter her world and play with her. Here, Paige is beating Randy at a game of Ants in the Pants.

Also below, Paige now helps decorate the tree. And, Santa brought her the blue fork and spoon she asked for. Eli is all smiles, as usual, and completely captivated by the blue light on his first Christmas present.

Friday, December 18, 2009

10 months!

Wow! Eli is 10 months old, now. Saturday, the 19th, he'll have been home from the hospital 6 months, and the following day is 10 months from his first heart surgery. To us it seems like eternities ago. This year has been a big haze and fog to us. Yet at the same time, it all seems like yesterday.

Since coming home, Eli has made great strides developmentally. When he came home, he was 9 pounds and could barely hold up his head. He was essentially a newborn in a 4 month old body. In fact, one of the therapists who works with Eli doesn't "count" the months he was in the hospital when she evaluates him developmentally. She sees Eli as a 6 month old, not 10 months.

Eli is growing stronger by the day. His head control is strong. He'll sit supported for short periods, sometimes pulling away from the back support and balancing himself. Just recently he started bearing a little weight on his legs. Eli likes to grab for things next to him while laying on his back. He has the ability to roll over, just chooses not to. He not fond of tummy time. Mommy was very relieved when he figured out how to put his pacifier in his mouth on his own, especially in the middle of the night.

Eating presents a different challenge. He is mostly fed through his g-tube. We give him the opportunity to drink from a bottle at least once a day, but often he'll only drink an ounce or two before he tires out. Our surgeon gave us a great analogy that helps us understand Eli's feeding. Eli's body is working so hard to maintain his heart, it's like he is constantly running a marathon. When you add in feeding, it's like eating a large meal while running that marathon. It's just too much. For that reason, we don't push him too hard. Eli has been able to explore with a few solid foods. His been given rice cereal, sweet potatoes, plums, and bananas. He'll take a few bites from the spoon, play with it, and eventually swallow it. It's certainly a foreign thing to him. He's not sure what to do with it.

One thing Eli has never lacked in is his socialiblity. When he was in the hospital, he got tons of attention from the nurses, therapists, doctors, and volunteers. He loves to be talked to, and will smile at any movement or sound. He has earned the name Captain Smiles, and wears it well. He adores his sister, Paige. She loves entertaining him and making him happy when he is upset. She is the only one who can do silly things and make Eli truly laugh. They share a great bond.

Eli is fairing well so far this winter season. Becoming shut-ins has not been easy on us, but it is proving to be protecting Eli, so that makes it all worth it. Please continue to pray. Eli is running a race against time. We pray daily for the miracle Eli needs to have to be a candidate for his next surgery.