Five-year-old birthday boy poses in 'Up'-themed photoshoot with great-grandparents
We all had that one movie we absolutely adored when we were kids - the kind of movie we could watch over and over without it ever losing its charm. For me, and a hell of a lot of other people, it was The Lion King. For one particular five-year-old boy, Elijah Perman, his binge-worthy movie of choice is the 2009 animated adventure movie, Up. In fact, in the words of his own mother, Rachel, Elijah is "borderline addicted to Up".
So when Rachel, a part-time photographer, told her little boy that he could have a themed photoshoot for his fifth birthday, it came as no surprise that he wanted to dress up as wilderness explorer Russell from Up. And that's exactly what he did.
"I chose to do magical shoots for my kids birthdays this year as all three of my kids share the same birthday week," Rachel, 32, told PEOPLE. "Elijah is very particular. He is borderline addicted to Up and has been for several years."
"It’s the only thing he draws and colors - the house with balloons - the only books he wants to get at the library, and the only toy he wanted when we were in Walt Disney World last year."
Clad in a hat and badges while holding a bunch of balloons tied to a tiny toy house, Elijah definitely looked the part.
This boy had his lunch taken away by a dinner lady on his ninth birthday over an outstanding balance of $9:
The most heartwarming aspect of it all, though, was that his great-grandparents, Richard, 90, and Caroline Bain, 89, also dressed up according to the Up-theme so that they too could take part in all the fun. Richard dressed up as Carl Fredricksen while Caroline dressed up as Carl’s late wife, Ellie.
"They were thrilled to participate and loved that I asked them," Rachel told PEOPLE. "Grandpa even went to the thrift store to get the jacket and hose. He said, 'I noticed in a photo Carl had a hose over his shoulder'."
As for Elijah, "He was so excited and giggled," Rachel said. "He loves the photos!"
It hasn't always been easy for the family, though, with Rachel having been diagnosed with cancer soon after Elijah and his twin Emilee were born.
"I had fears if I would even get to see their fifth birthday. My oldest (Mikayla) was 5 at the time and I hated not knowing if I would get the same time with them that I got with her," Rachel told CNN.
Five years on from that uncertain period in Rachel's life, her cancer is in remission. So, the doting mom wanted to celebrate her twins' fifth birthday in as special a way as possible.
"The inspiration for the sessions was to celebrate all that my kids love," she explained.
Emilee opted for a unicorn-themed photoshoot:
"Overall I am so blessed and fortunate!" Rachel tells CNN. As for the twins' big sister's birthday photoshoot: "It will likely be a little more 'grown up' since she's 10 now," Perman explained.