This year I'm blogging my Christmas letter. Innovative, I know;) Read it, or, don't. You might want to though, our kids are pretty cute.
Compared to the most recent years, 2011 has been pretty stable. No major surgeries, diagnosis's, or major happenings. And, for that, we are extremely thankful to the Lord.
After last Christmas, we were very excited to see the spring come. While Brandon wrapped up his fourth year of teaching, I wrapped up Aubrey's kindergarten year of homeschooling. She played softball and really loved it.
She started full day 1st grade at Bethesda Christian School this fall. It's been an adjustment for her. While she loves being social, she will sometimes say, "I just want to stay home with you mommy. Can't we just tell them I'm sick?" She's very bright and so far is doing great academically. She enjoys reading, Bible memory, and her "bfffffffffffff (that's best friend:) Noelle. She had her 7th birthday in October. We had our typical family party and then we allowed her to invite 3 friends over for an evening for a "friend party." It was a ton of fun.
This fall also brought the most exciting moment of her life so far. Aubrey committed her life to Christ. Praise the Lord!
Most recently, Aubrey had ten inches of her hair cut off and donated to Locks of Love. I shrieked when they cut it off and she said, "It's just hair mom, it grows back." Ahhh, 7 year old perspective. I'm very proud of her for giving such a gift.
Being Aubrey's mommy is a blessing, and yet a challenge. We're constantly battling sin nature and trying to instill character qualities. She has a very tender heart, and an untouched imagination. When she's home, she loves playing with Barbie's, creating a "Fancy Nancy style beauty spa," and crafting. She's still in love with her daddy and loves being at home for movie nights and cuddling.
Adelynne finished her first year of preschool this past spring.
This fall, once we drop Aubrey and bub (more about that in a minute) off at school, she and I have 2 mornings a week to hang out. We like to go to the library, meet up with friends, color or do puzzles. I was concerned about her being the "odd man out," but it's been a blessing to have some time with just Adelynne.
The older this girl gets, we realize more and more that she is a carbon copy of her daddy. Not only does she look just like him, but, she's got his temperament and attention to detail. This girl could color quietly for hours. She loves to help me fold towels. She's the queen of "one liners," and has the sweetest laugh. She loves to go to the library for story time and loves to play on the computers there. She's the sweetest helper with Nolan, and I've very much enjoyed watching their relationship deepen since it's just the 2 of them at home now.
She's turning 5 next week and it's hard to believe. We celebrated her birthday yesterday so that her special day doesn't get lost in the Christmas shuffle.
Nolan bug wrapped up almost 3 years of therapy through Indiana First Steps in June, on his third birthday. This means we had to say goodbye to his therapists who had been coming to our house weekly to "play" with Nolan. Karen, Nolan's physical therapist who had been with him since he was 5 months old, was very hard to see move on. She helped him learn to roll over, sit up, crawl, walk, run, etc. We're so thankful to her for all she meant to our family.
We were able to hire Nolan's speech therapist, Kaycie, to continue his services privately at home through the summer and school year. Nolan loves her so much and gets so excited when he knows she's coming. In the fall, Nolan began developmental preschool 2 mornings a week. He really seems to be doing well. While he struggles with paying attention and is very distractable, we're excited that he's identifying shapes and his name as well as starting to catch on to colors. He continues to surprise us with his abilities. He managed to fairly easily potty train this fall, although we struggle with where it's appropriate to poop:)
Our best news for Nolan from the year was that his heart "passed inspection" for the next year. Nolan has mild aortic stenosis & moderate mitral valve stenosis and leakage. Each year we have his heart checked to see if the condition has worsened. Once the mitral valve conditions move from moderate to severe, they will want to operate. We know this is likely, but, we are extremely thankful to have another year that the Nolan's heart condition hasn't changed.
This boy is a tornado of activity who is an absolute joy. His presence and affection melt my heart, even if he's just dumped ketchup everywhere... oh boy! He's all boy who loves swords, guns, and wrestling with daddy. At the same time, he'll come to me and say, "Where's Barbie?" I couldn't imagine life with out him.
Brandon is now in his fifth year of teaching and still loves what he does. He just wrapped up the second season of owing our own mowing business. We are excited for this coming spring as he will be the head baseball coach at Bethesda.
I'm still an at home mommy and consider it a blessing most days. I spend a lot of time running kids to and from school and chasing Nolan in between. I'm thankful for the blessing of being married to my best friend 9 years on December 21st. I couldn't imagine doing life without him.
Some highlights from this year...
1. First every Nolan's Walk for Williams: The event was to encourage other families in the same boat that we are, raise awareness for Williams syndrome, and money for the WSA. We raise almost $8000 and had over 200 attend.
2. Family trip to General Butler in June: aunts, uncles, and grandparents....so much fun
3. In July Brandon and I took the girls to Kings Island for a marathon 2 days of rides, water park and concerts. We had a ball!!!!!!!!!!!!!
4. Trips to the park for creek stompin' and hiking.
5. Adventures with cousins
6. End of summer party with great friends
7. Annual trip to the orchard/pumpkin patch
Psalm 100:5 "For the Lord is good and his love endures forever; his faithfulness continues through all generations."
2011 was another year the Lord granted, and we are thankful.
Praying the Lord's richest blessings this CHIRSTmas season for your family.