Friday, January 22, 2016

New Cousins and Aunts and Uncles

At the very start of the new year we had a wonderful visit from Aunt Becky and Uncle Joe. The kids talked about their coming for days, especially Isaac. We didn't do anything particularly exciting but play around the house and park and got caught up on everyone -their company was enough to make everyone happy.
Keila was particularly attentive to Aubrey and did all she could for her little cousin's happiness.
Kent and I got to love on their newest addition, Emily! I could not get enough of that baby smell and it was so fun to coo back and forth.

Good food, good company and a few late night chats was a great way to start the new year. When they left Isaac cried once more (his attachment level to those he loves is always that way - I hope it doesn't change!) He and Keila hunted all over the house for the caramels that Uncle Joe hid for them. Ironically it was Leora who found one 2 days after, she was simultaneously sucking and chewing on the still wrapped candy, dripping and smiling happily. WE're so grateful they take the time out to travel our way to see us especially with all the weather difficulties. We must do it again next year and remember to take more pictures!

Thursday, January 21, 2016

2015 At An End

As the years pass it's harder to summeraize all that has occurred in a year since it seems like it had barely begun. We tend to look at the old posts and reminisce of things past and record our greatests memories and achievements. Here's our belated post on 2015.
Leora is officially walking and walks EVERYWHERE! Even when we go to the park she insists on walking as much as possible which often means we get there halfway through playtime, but she is proud as ever of herself. If she can snag one of us on the way up or down the stairs, she attempts that too which makes me positive she'll be chasing down her siblings in no time. Her comprehension of communication is rather amazing to us. Early on she learned to sign and now approximates words which means we will have another chatter bug soon.
Eli at PT with Ms Beth.
While Eli is unable to reply as to his biggest accomplishment, I think he would agree that it is preschool. It took several weeks with many tears for him to adjust and now it is something he looks forward to. After a busy morning of errands I can tell him that the afternoon is school and he smiles and claps his hands. The projects he brings home I will ask him about, "Did you color this?" and he gives a definate nod and points proudly to parts of his work. He is verbalizing more and has made some leaps and bounds with his newest SLP Ms. Colleen. We work on things daily and without much of a fight. It's hard for him, but he has a desire to communicate and is willing to put forth the practice. You can't say that of too many 3 yr olds!
When I asked Keila she answered without hesitation, "Swimming the length of the pool in a swim meet!" I have to agree one hundred percent. It's one thing to deal with the anxiety of things that you have no choice but to do, it's another to choose to face a fear and utilize your learned skills to overcome the challenge. She is by no means over her anxiety, but she has practiced dealing with it in a powerful way and found a sense of pride and confidence that was not there before. She has also learned to enjoy school a little more. Mornings can still be hard but once she's there she does well academically and socially and her teacher says she is a joy to have in class.
Isaac has demonstrated a growing awarenss of choices and consequences which is part of the promises he made when he was baptized earlier this year. When things moods are swinging and little ones are easily agitated, I can ask him what he thinks the Lord would have him do and he often makes better choices which makes us proud of him. After all, what more does a parent hope to see then that their child will learn to make the right choices for themselves. He is also finally able to claim he is a real reader! Just like his mother, he devours books and because he's grown to love it, his reading level surpasses his grade. It was such a struggle at first to learn but now that he's over that hump there's nothing to stop him! Ocassionally we chuckle when words like Obsidian are pronounced "absurdian" but for the most part my energy is now spent going to the library weekly to check out 4-5 more books for his voracious appetite!
I am proud to say I am surviving four children! As long as I get some regular exercise in I am able to maintain the household, all our many activities and amazingly enough, not yell - too much! In all seriousness, it is nice to have found a rhythm that works for us and I can in sincerity say I love this role of a mother! In addition I've taken a few classes to better understand the educational challenges we might face with Eli as he gets older. I am now better armed for his next IEP meeting and to begin potty training. It will be a long haul but I'm excited to see what I will learn this next year. Our children are our greatest teachers! My free time is spend snuggling quickly growing children, reading and cooking. The kids are never quite sure what new dish I will try for the week but we are developing a varied palate!
Kent celebrating his 'Super Dad' birthday for 2015.
Kent spent part of his year considering another job that might put us closer to his side of family. In the end we decided otherwise due to finacial obligations. That being said, he took a course on trusts and has begun to really put our finacial plans into place. There are the typical concerns of retirement, education for the kids, etc. but we have the added weight of unexpected medical costs as well as planning for a future for Eli. There's a sense of peace in knowing we are doing all we can for future. Aside from regular wrestling sessions with the munchkins, he still has a nice garden to add to our dinners and has made some good friends and now has regular guy's nights. Life is good!

We are so grateful for all the blessings of this last year. Life is truely busy, crazy, unexpected and wonderful all at once. We wouldn't have it any other way! Bring on 2016!