Thursday, December 31, 2009

2009 - Our Year in Review


This year, Drew started playing recreational sports. He started with T-ball in the spring and really enjoyed it. This fall, he played soccer and loved it. He was a real asset to the team! He spent his 4th summer at Tall Pines Day Camp where one of the highlights was singing "Take Me Out to the Ballgame" on the big stage for the whole camp! After graduating half day Pre-K, Drew moved up to full day Kindergarten and made the transition like a champ. He's doing extremely well in school, and is reading well above grade level - his teacher even has him helping to "teach" some of the other students as a challenge for him. Amazing. You know the teachers in us are so proud! This year, he has lost 4 teeth, had his 3rd set of ear tubes placed, and his adenoids removed. He had his first official birthday party with friends at a local indoor jump/bounce arena when he turned 6 in December. He also got to watch all 6 Star Wars movies with his Dad and is now a bonafide Star Wars fan! He continues to be a big help with his brother and sisters (most of the time) and really loves to play the Wii.


This year Carter has grown so much. Physically, he is still our peanut, and weighs the least of the crew. By the summer, we were realizing that he wasn't talking nearly as much as we thought he should be and within weeks of starting speech therapy, he started talking up a storm. And now, he's finally saying his own name, which he absolutely refused to say for quite awhile. He also started physical therapy because he was falling a lot. He has flat feet and drags his right foot a tiny bit because he doesn't bend his knees like he should. In the last few months, he is definitely falling less, and his balance has started to improve. He is still a fabulous eater - loves his veggies. There are really only two things I can think of that he will NOT eat. Surprisingly, they are macaroni and cheese and oatmeal!! He can count to 10, but won't say 4. He can repeat all of the alphabet letters and recognizes most of them. He knows some shapes and colors too. He is not quite ready for the potty yet. In fact, both Carter and Brenna were very interested in sitting on the potty for awhile. Then I told them that they would only get Smarties if they actually went in the potty, and their enthusiasm faded. :)


This year Brenna has become such a little lady! She loves anything Dora, Diego, Princesses or My Little Ponies! She gets thrilled over shoes and boots, and anything "dancy" (fancy) or dress-up. She can also count to 10, and can say and recognize all of the alphabet letters. She has been right on target or ahead with all of her milestones and skills and has not needed any Early Intervention services. Brenna is showing signs of potty training readiness. She will sit and do #1 occasionally, and ver rarely #2, but we're working on it. :)


2009 was a huge year for Emily. She started the ketogenic diet in January, and has made miraculous progress! She has been mostly seizure free since March, having a few breakthrough spasms here and there. But changes to the ratio of the formula have helped. She started eating by mouth a tiny bit, right now she eats every other night (and gets the rest by g-tube). She continues to get both OT and PT services weekly and has really made some huge advances. She can hold her head up, roll, push up on her arms while on her belly, and most recently began sitting unsupported for up to 10 seconds!!!! Unbelievable! :) Back in the spring she was accepted into a program provided by the Department of Developmental Disabilities (DDD), and through them we have been able to get nursing care in our home, 6 days a week - 8 hours a day, to help with Emily's daily care (baths, feeding, medicines, exercises). This has been one of the biggest blessings of the year! The DDD has also supplemented our insurance to help with medical expenses and the cost of adaptive equipment. Last week, we just received a Tumble Form chair and a Squiggles stander. She is also having more alert time, more smiles and giggles, making eye contact sometimes, and even following us as we walk by!

Aimee and Gee-off

This year we celebrated 10 years of wedded bliss! :) We used our camper twice this summer and also took a road trip to Maine. Gee-off is still teaching 6th grade Math as well as teaching for the after school program. He also continues to give his Positive Discipline Workshop for camps and after school programs in NJ and PA on evenings and weekends. He was honored to present at the ACA Tri-State Camping Conference and the NJSACC Convention this year, and is booked to do both again in 2010. In his "spare time" he likes to host poker nights with the guys and fight bad guys on the Playstation 3. I have been able to remain a stay at home Mom this year and have been able to get Carter and Brenna out to daytime activities more often (thanks to Em's nurses and having Drew in school). I've also been more active in Mom's Club events and have been able to help out in Drew's classroom as well. I was so happy to get to go to 3 all day scrapbooking crops throughout the year and attended 2 major scrapbooking conventions. I've really been enjoying my Canon DSLR camera, and I just got some home lighting equipment to experiment with too. If only I could find some cute kids to take pictures of!!! :)
Here's to an amazing 2010 - Happy New Year!!

Friday, December 18, 2009

Christmas Card 2009

Merry Christmas everyone!!
I think this is my favorite Christmas card yet.
To all of our friends and family, your cards are in the mail and should be arriving very soon!
And to all of my "cyber" friends, this one's for you!
We hope everyone has a safe, healthy, and happy holiday and a wonderful New Year!
From top left, clockwise:
Emily, Drew, Brenna, and Carter
Drew - 6 years
Emily, Brenna, and Carter - 2 years, 4 months