Friday, March 27, 2015

11 Months!

11 months down, 1 to go!  How can this be?  Our little guy is definitely acting more and more like a toddler.  I can't believe how fast he's grown, especially these last few months.  Cal, he is such our little entertainer.

This month he has been ON THE MOVE.  He pushes his little elephant walker everywhere  He has figured out how to change directions with it in the last couple weeks.  Before, he would push it until he ran into a wall, then cry until we would flip it around.  Thankfully, now he will just walk around the side and take off again.  Yesterday, I swear he did this all morning until he napped, then all afternoon until he napped again.  Toys are useless to him right now unless he can use them to walk across the room!  It's the best to watch him giggle as he and the blue elephant chase me.  Though the elephant is his favorite "mover", he doesn't discriminate.  He pushes our counter stools, Elena's wheelchair, dining room chairs, ottomans, Elena's therapy equipment.  If he can push it, he will.  The Jackson Center is his little slice of heaven because there are approximately 10 walkers of varying sizes all lined up just waiting for him to take advantage of.  You can see him in action in the video below.  What a little wild man.

He has really developed a love for Pete lately, though I don't think it is quite reciprocated yet.  Cal loves to climb into Pete's dog bed, stare out the patio door with Pete, climb on him, pull his ears, poke his nose, jingle his dog tags and chew Pete's toys.  His favorite, well both their favorites, is meal time.  Cal often does a "one for me, one for Pete" routine with his finger foods.  The food barely hits the floor.  Just this week Cal started a less-hygienic way of feeding Pete by holding food in his hand and simply holding it out for Pete to eat out of his hand.  Then of course, this Pete slobbered hand goes right back into Cal's mouth...totally disgusting.  The other favorite thing Cal loves to do with his food is rub it into his hair.  The worst is avocado.  Green everywhere.  I guess this is probably only the beginnings of dealing with a messy boy.  Yay?

We've loved being entertained by our busy little boy.  Elena loves every noise he makes and often rolls with laughter at him.  He is often curious about her, especially her g-tube, which gives me nightmares about him getting hold of it...ahh!

I can't believe an entire year has almost passed with our little guy.  It has been so amazing to watch him grow and change.  I love watching his personality emerge.  He's brought us 11 months of pure joy and what a celebration next month will bring!

This picture perfectly describes their relationship at the moment (mealtime excluded).

His official 11 month photo, drool and all!

Cal's favorite thing to do at the Jackson Center

Friday, March 20, 2015

Hello Spring!

Today is the first official day of spring...hooray!  We have definitely been enjoying warmer temperatures here and are relishing in our ability to get outside without being bundled up from head to toe.  It's certainly been a LONG winter!

I've really been lagging with my writing lately.  To be quite honest, I'm not sure why.  The first three months of this year, and technically the last of 2014, have been really tough.  There have been lots of changes, adjustments and drama, quite frankly.  I'm not sure what to make of it yet so perhaps that's what is contributing to my lack of enthusiasm.  We'll see.  I'm holding out hope that spring will bring with it some sunshine in all ways possible.

One bright spot was that we were the honored guests of a breakfast yesterday at the Ronald McDonald House.  I've often mentioned how much we cherish this organization and all that it has done to help our family and thousands of others.  If you remember, we were the "feature family" this year for their big annual gala and participated in a beautiful video that documented Elena's story.  Well, yesterday was their annual breakfast with their board members, large corporate sponsors and some potential new ones.  We were, again, brought to tears by the video.  No matter how many times I've seen it, I still can't keep it together.  Chad was asked to say a few brief words.  I asked him on our way down what he was going to say and he said he would wing it....spoken like a true salesman.  Well, let's just say he brought the whole room to tears.  Us included.  Men and women in suit and ties were all choking up and dabbing their eyes.  It was pretty great to see.  We have been so grateful for our experience at the RMH and consider our ability to share our story such a huge blessing.  It never fails to humble us to see the way it touches others.

On the way home, I mentioned how strange it seems that this happened 3.5 years ago.  Sometimes it still feels so raw but other times I find myself forgetting there was ever a "before".  Having watched Calvin grow, develop and change this last year has been a constant prickle on our hearts.  Our love for our children is immeasurable but seeing the differences in Elena and Cal has been tough to swallow at times.  It has made me often wonder what Elena would be like had this never happened.  For a moment, I can almost picture her running around the room, playing with her brother.  But, mostly that image is too painful and I have to snap back to the present.

That will likely never go away.  I just have to remind myself of the different joy that Elena and Cal will bring us.  And the continued inspiration and softened hearts she will bring to whomever hears her story.  God willing, we will be able to share her light for many, many years to come.

Image from the RMH Healing Heroes Breakfast

Sunday, March 1, 2015

10 Months!

So February is gone, we're looking forward to March and what happens?  A foot of snow welcoming us today.  We're snowed in, no church and a little cabin fever is on the agenda for this snowy Sunday.   Cal has been generous with his snotty nose, so we're anxiously awaiting to see who falls next.  The bright side?  The new season of House of Cards couldn't have been released at better time!

Snow and snot aside, our Cal-boy is 10 months old!  Um, I'm pretty much going to be spending the next two months on Pinterest trying to plan his birthday.  Ah!  How can this be?

Cal is busier than ever.  He started taking steps behind his elephant walker this month.  Though, his real favorite is using the kids' walkers at the Jackson Center.  His favorite toys continue to be wheelchairs, standers, walkers and Elena's orthotics.  This has resulted in many a goose-egg on his forehead.  He is definitely getting more confident on his feet but still prefers his "turbo crawl".  By this I mean, he can crawl the length of our house (which is quite a long stretch) in under a minute.  Good thing he has chubby knees to give him some padding on our wood floors!

Cal still loves babbling, eating, random screaming and making his sister laugh.  He has discovered clapping his hands and can wave pretty sweetly.  His favorite show is Wheel of Fortune.  He will sit still for the entire 30 minutes staring at the TV, though like most of us, grows impatient at the commercials.  We took him sledding for the first time and found him to be quite unimpressed.  He maintained the same expression from top of the hill to the bottom.  Sledding and snow aren't too exciting for him.

He is growing much too quickly.  Chad and I say nearly every day that we wish he would stay this little and cute forever.  It's such an adventure to watch him change and explore.  That, and watching him interact with Elena has been a joy.  She LOVES him and hardly ever minds when he pulls her hair, sticks his finger up her nose, pokes her eyes or crawls on top of her.  Everything he does is funny to her.  It's pretty great.

Speaking of Elena, she's doing really well.  The results of her hip surgery have been awesome.  She is still gaining strength but her balance, posture and movements have all improved.  The three months of surgery and recovery were certainly a challenge, but she is SO much better off.  Elena also got to go sledding this month.  We rigged up a sled for her to be able to go by herself, and she loved it!  It's so special when she can do things independently.  I see many more years of sledding ahead of us!  We also started her on a new formula, hoping it will improve her reflux.  So far, we have had good results and are praying this may be the answer for her frequent vomiting.  It's required a few more less convenient steps for us, but if it saves me from cleaning up projectile barf every other day, it will be well worth it!

I'll leave you with some pictures and a couple videos of our two crazies.  Life is still proving to be a bit hectic and stressful around our house with all we've had going on this year.  Chad's Mom has improved, so thank you to all of you who have included her in your prayers.  We just try and take things a day at a time, and relish in our little joys.

 Our sledding crew:  Brennley, Cal, Elena, Amelia & Huddy
 Me & my mini man-version
 Exciting trip to Target
 Discovered the dish washer
 No caption needed
 Beach Day at school with 3in of snow and negative degree temps....
Cal's 10 month picture sans his sticker which has been lost!
Elena sledding!