Monday, October 26, 2015

18 Months

How is our sweet little guy growing so FAST?  Gosh, six months have gone by in the blink of an eye.  He has changed so much in the last few months.  I see his one-year pictures and think he looks like such a baby!  It makes your head spin to realize how much happens in just a year and a half of life!

At 18 months, we pinch ourselves to believe that this tender-hearted, funny, loving, thumb-sucking boy is ours.  It is an honor to be able to watch him grow, change and emerge as the precious little guy that he is.  There's no way I could ever say that and truly mean it, if we were in a different situation.  It is such a blessing to be able to have an appreciation for that.  One that most parents take for granted.

I'm finding it hard to describe how much fun Cal brings to our family.  Sure, he can be whiny, impatient and throw a heck of a tantrum if you take away his (SISTER'S) Ipad.  But, overall he is joy.  Not a joy, but joy.  It is true what they say, you love your children the same, but appreciate them for the different little people they are.  Calvin keeps us all laughing.  Elena adores him.  And he adores her.  His first word in the morning is "sissy".  And he loves giving Elena kisses before bed time.  Watching them together literally makes my heart burst.  I hold so much hope in their relationship and it's beautiful to see it unfold.

Currently, Cal is loving apples, airplanes, golf, words (of all kinds...yikes!), Mickey Mouse and peekaboo, just to name a few.  About a month ago, it was animals and their sounds all. day. long.  He really does have quite a vocabulary, saying more words than I can count right now.  We talk a lot at our house.  I'm thinking he picks it up because we are always describing things to Elena, talking about things we hear, asking Elena questions and reading lots of books.  When you have one visually impaired, non-verbal child, you reallllly talk things out!  I think Cal picks up on all that.  I won't lie though, every single time he says "Mommy" or "Daddy" I tear up a little.  You have no idea how sweet those words truly are.  Our favorites right now are hearing him say "Mickey Mouse" and "Peekaboo, I see you!".  The way he says it is simply adorable.  Even though he says them 100 times a day, it still makes me smile.

To Chad's delight, Cal has really been working on his golf swing.  He received a little Fisher Price set for his birthday back in April.  It's pretty cute to watch him line up the ball and "tee off"!  Chad shows him how to do it, and he mimics him.  That being said, he mimics everything.  Everything!
He "helps" put lotion on Elena after her bath.
Or sweeps when I'm running the vacuum.
Or cooks when I cook.
Or cleans when I clean.
Or helps put Elena's boots on in the morning before school.
Or "mows" when Daddy is mowing.
Or "waters the flowers" when we do.

The list goes on and on.  And he repeats everything we say.  Everything.  (no more potty mouth at the Hinton house, we quickly learned our lesson!)  He loves getting Sis on the bus with me in the morning and is quick to say "AMEN!" after prayers at night.  He is such a precious little thing who fills our day with lots of smiles.  We love you sweet Calvin Merrick!

Monday, October 19, 2015

Florida & Fall

The days and months are flying by and I'm struggling to keep up!  I've been meaning to post a blog for weeks!

We enjoyed several days in the Florida sun last week.  We flew down with my family for a final hurrah before my parents took off for Arizona for the winter (rough life they have!).  It was great to spend some quality time with our family, not to mention spend every day on the beach!  It was Cal's first time to enjoy the beach, you may remember us taking a trip last August with Chad's family.  But he LOVED it.  He was completely fearless.  He loved shoveling in the sand, but more so, the water.  Gramma Frey showed him how to stomp his feet in the waves, splashing around.  Grampa Frey showed him to "jump" the waves as they rolled in.  It was so fun to see him enjoy it so.

Elena loves the beach too.  She loves feeling the ocean breeze and standing in the waves as they crash against her.  It's an exhausting job for whomever is holding her, but it's fun to watch her squeal in excitement when she gets splashed.  We had so much fun and are already looking forward to going back next year.  But first, I'm hoping for a mid-winter, when it's bitterly cold and snowy praying for spring, trip to Arizona to thaw out and see Gramma & Grampa!  Hint, hint Chaddy!

This past weekend, we made our annual trip to the Country Market Pumpkinfest here in Zionsville.  Evan & Sam joined us, braving the unusually chilly temps to have a little fun.  The boys loved going down the giant hill-slide, riding the "tractor", seeing the animals and of course, picking out "punkins".  It's so fun spending time with "Sahhhhhhm" as Cal says it, and watching them play together.  They're both just so cute!  Elena had fun too.  She got to go down the slide again this year with Mommy, which produced big smiles!

The leaves around here are beautiful.  Another season flying by.  We're in such a good place right now.  Cal keeps us all entertained and laughing with his spirit and Elena is loving staying busy.  Hard to believe the holidays are creeping up on us.  They'll be sure to bring along more wonderful times and memories with everyone we love!  So much to be thankful for, even on our tough days.

Here's a boat load of pictures from the last few weeks!

Our only family picture :(

First steps on the beach!

Riding waves with Grampa

My favorite picture of the week...Gramma & Laney watching the sunset.

Even got to catch up with more family, Aunt Rene & cousin Megan and her new husband Brian!

Changing gears (and weather!) to Pumpkinfest

Cuzzies Sam & Cal

Monday, October 5, 2015

Follow Up Photos

As promised, I wanted to share with you Elena's pictures from Grape Escape.

This one is her "Cowgirl" picture.  They had a western theme this year, so Elena rocked some cute cowboy boots!  I just love the expression on her face in this.  It's so her.  Laid back, sweet and innocent.  Gosh, she's cute! :)

This picture is her artwork.  Purple has been a theme in our life this year...purple wheelchair, purple AFOs, purple gait trainer, purple seeing that she chose to paint with purple isn't surprising!

Thanks for the awesome feedback on the video.  I know it was good to show you all what Elena does in therapy each week.  That was just a snippet of how hard our girl works.  She puts in 9-10 hours of therapy a week, not including at home or at school, so that just gives you an idea of the tasks we work on.  We're so proud of what she has accomplished at the Jackson Center and love our family there.  I'm so glad we were able to share that with you all.  

Thank you for all your continued love and support.  I've been feeling so many of your prayers lately and I can't express to you how much encouragement that brings me.  We are so appreciative of the love you give our family!