Sunday, October 16, 2011

Busy Week!

Our last visit in Texas.  My brother is the guy in
the back in the middle.

It was a magical week for my family- well actually it has been a magical year!  I flew to Texas Monday, October 10, for a wonderful reason!  We had prayed for over 22 years for my brother to be in a position to move out of Texas... and the day had finally arrived!  I met my mom, step dad, sister, and brother-in-law on Monday night. The four of us went to pick up my brother on Tuesday and help him get ready for his move.  We spent time together for the last time in Texas.   It will be so nice to have all of my family in one place finally!  It was a quick trip since I flew home on Wednesday, but it meant so much that I could be with everyone for a little while!  Everyone else went on to see my grandma and visited a few more friends on the way to Wisconsin.

Brennan's fat lip
 While I was in Texas, Dave and the kids stayed busy.  Kate went to a farm and a pumpkin patch this last week at school and Brennan put the finishing touches on his Jacques Cousteau report.  On Wednesday poor Brennan ran into another child on the playground at school though.  He bumped his lip really hard and the poor girl that he ran into had a big bump on her head.  They are both okay but Brennan had quite the fat lip for a few days.  He was in great hands at school and well taken care of.  When I was driving him home on Thursday his lip was really fat and he commented, "Mom, I think I know how come my lip is so big- air got inside of it and now it's stuck."  He does make me laugh. I had to explain that it will be okay and that his head won't continue to get bigger.  It looked almost back to normal by Saturday.

Brent and Caitlin putting on Kate's
new socks before her new"butterfly shoes"

Thursday I picked Kate up from school to go get her new leg braces.  She was a great sport and wore them for about two hours on Thursday, two hours on Friday, four hours on Saturday, and hopefully six hours today (three hours this morning and three hours this afternoon).  They have butterflies on the back and we had to go buy new shoes (what a great reason to shop)!  She picked out some Dora shoes that will fit her new "butterfly shoes" too. 

Trying out the butterfly shoes for
the first time

Taking a break to have some fun!
While Kate and I were at her appointment, a great friend (Mr. Storck) took Brennan fishing at school. According to Brennan, they caught five different species of fish.  Mr. Storck usually takes Brennan fishing a few times a year- they are so cute walking into the woods together.  One of these days I'll have to get a picture of the two of them.  Mr. Storck also happens to be one of Brennan's teachers this year and witnessed the accident on Wednesday.  Apparently he was very worried- which is why I think he wanted to take Brennan fishing on Thursday.  Brennan is so lucky to have so many caring people watching out for him.  A big thank you goes to everyone at The Raleigh School!

Brennan's birthday dinner
at Golden Corral, Oct. 14th.

Cotton Candy at Golden
Corral... Dave was hoping that
we could skip the fair since the kids
already got their cotton candy. LOL

Happy ninth birthday Brennan!

Birthday cake for breakfast!

And on Friday it was Brennan's ninth birthday!!!  Wow- what a week!  Brennan opened most of his presents Friday morning before school.  I joined him for lunch and read a book to his class and handed out his birthday treats.  He was so sweet!  Friday night we all went to Golden Corral for dinner because that's what the birthday boy picked for his choice.  Dave and I were pleasantly surprised that it wasn't packed!  We all enjoyed a delicious dinner but didn't have any room for Brennan's cake that Dave had bought for Brennan.  We ended up eating Brennan's birthday cake on Saturday morning instead. 

Helping Hanna open her present
that Kate was so excited to pick
out for her.

Mimi's for dinner

Kate with two of her favorite people!

Kate loves Jennifer!

We know one of the actors-
the one in the middle was one
of my students last year.  .
 Dave and Brennan spent the morning getting ready to go camping with some friends at Jordan Lake.  This was their third time and they were excited!  It's become a fun tradition!  While Dave and Brennan camped, Kate and I enjoyed some girl time.  We went to Hanna's birthday party at Gym Carolina.  This was Kate's first birthday party she's attended.  She was so excited!  She played and jumped the entire time and then took a quick nap before we met friends for dinner and a play.

It was just Kate and me for church on Sunday since the boys were camping.  Kate got to hand out bread at church which made her happy!  Our church has a tradition that if anyone is visiting for the first time they get bread and the children deliver it.  Poor Kate toppled over in her butterfly shoes though- but she got up and got the bread delivered.  :-)  When Pastor Jay asked if anyone had a birthday this week, Kate raised her hand. She is so funny!  With the excitement of Dave's birthday,  Brennan's birthday, and Hanna's birthday all in one week, Kate is having a hard time waiting for her birthday. She can't wait until it is finally February 11th! 

The boys had a great time camping!  They got home around 1:00 PM and Brennan got to open up one more birthday present.  Right now everyone is sleeping...  It was quite the week! 

So we are thankful for birthdays, healthy kids, good friends, and family this week!  I am especially thankful that my mom, step dad, sister, brother, and brother-in-law arrived in Wisconsin safe and sound yesterday.   God has answered another prayer!

Sunday, October 9, 2011

Four Months with Kate

It's hard to believe that we've already had Kate for four months!  She has adjusted so well and has experienced so much!  Today she sang at church with the choir and was so cute!  She was going to be shy about going up front at first, but as soon as I said I'd videotape her,she had no reservations at all.  I wish I could have been as brave as her when I was four years old!

I took a day off of work last week to go with Brennan on his field trip.  We had a perfect day at a nature center with his classmates.  My favorite part was listening to the three boys that rode with me though.  They giggled and laughed the entire 45 minute ride there and back.  Afterwards Brennan commented, "Thanks for going with me mom!  It meant so much to me."  Wow- my child doesn't say much but when he does it means a lot!  I wish I could go on every field trip!  We also took a lunch break together a few weeks ago, and he loved our alone time.  We're going to make lunch a new tradition once or twice a month. 

Brennan has been hard at work researching Jacques Cousteau.  My ocean and fish enthusiast is enjoying learning about this very interesting man.  He'll dress like Jacques Cousteau on October 20th and talk about his life in the first person.  We have a friend that is going to lend us some cool props and of course we bought him the trademark red hat to wear.  He'll be so cute!

Brennan has a traveling buddy that will travel around during his fourth grade year.  It's a little stuffed whale that will go on trips with friends and family.  We were talking about where we should send it and said a few places and then Brennan commented, "And then we can send it to dad's ancestors in Norway."  He makes me smile!  I hope the Norwegian ancestors are up for having a traveling buddy visit them. 

Kate's appointment with Dr. Wooten went well.  We asked a lot of questions and left feeling much more educated about cerebral palsy.  After our appointment with Dr. Wooten, Kate had physical therapy and we met with the orthodist.  He made the cutest molds of Kate's feet- I wish I would have remembered to get pictures!  She is going to have braces made that will help lift her toes up and put her feet into better alignment.  They will be pretty minimal and will only have to be worn when she's being active.  She even got to pick out a butterfly pattern for them!  How cool is that?!!!  She was a great sport and worked hard at her occupational therapy afterwards.  I think she loved all the one on one attention! 

I'm still enjoying my class a lot! They are so cute and so smart!  They keep me busy coming up with new projects and assignments!  I truly enjoy going to work knowing that both Kate and Brennan are being cared for and taught by such caring and wonderful people!  Kate is so active and does so many amazing things at her school.  Julie is great about taking pictures, which I love to see.  Brennan is working hard and learning a lot!  We are all so lucky!

It's strange to think about four months ago when we first met Kate in person.  She was so quiet and the only time she's quiet now is when she's sleeping. She spends most of her day singing and humming and talking A LOT!  She would wear anything I put on her four months ago- now she truly has her own style and ideas!  She continues to be a girly girl though!  She didn't know any English four months ago... now she knows so many words! Kate has always been sweet to everyone and that continues to be true. She is a love bug!  She wasn't sure what a family was when she met us but four months later she has a better idea.  She has a pretty good understanding that she is "stuck"with us through the good and bad times- which she is happy about!  Kate didn't know who Barney was... but now that big purple guy is her favorite thing to watch.  She was scared of dogs and all other animals when we met her.  Now she's best buddies with Zamboni, our dog, as well as many other dogs she's met.  She loves cats and any animal in a cage.  She is scared of squirrels though, which makes us laugh when she sees one.  I wonder what the next four months will bring...

I also wonder what Brennan would say about these past four months?!!  I'll have to see if I can get him to write a little from his perspective.

I've seen Brennan grow in so many ways these past four months!  He talks in a much softer way to Kate, he explains things much better, he helps Kate a lot more (without even knowing it), and he doesn't use the words "my or mine" as much.  He's learned to share both possessions and people better.  He's also learned to take turns with music in the car, telling stories, or doing homework (Kate thinks she needs to do homework every night just like Brennan).  I think the best thing he's learned is that Kate looks up to him and how good he feels when he makes her smile.  He asked me the other day if it was okay that he didn't love Kate right away...  I told him that of course it was okay.  We went on to talk about how when everyone else gets a sibling they have time to get used to it before their sibling walked, talked, or had much of a personality.  Poor Brennan- his sibling came walking, talking, and with a very strong personality!  LOL! 

Life is not always easy for either one of them, but I am confident that they will both be better people because they have each other!  I know they already have more sweet moments together than the not so sweet ones.  They are getting there! 

The other night we were all snuggling in bed (even the dog) and I just had to reflect on my life and say thank you to God for the zillionth time!  We are blessed!

Ready for the rain!

Of course Brennan would find
an app for this

Some of the cute
fourth graders

Getting ready to break rocks

Brennan's traveling buddy
snuck on the field trip with us.

Building a shelter
made Brennan so happy
on his field trip!

The finished shelter...I think
Brennan would have loved
to spend the night in there!

One happy kid!

Brennan's fourth grade teacher

Kate took this picture
of her sweet brother.

Kate had fun at the multi-cultural
feast my school has each year.
This little girl was in my class last year
and was so excited about Kate!  They
are both soooo cute!

Kate was so happy to run into Emma
at the multi-cultural feast!