Our Loves

Sunday, December 5, 2010

A Sweet November

We had month full of therapy, the beginnings of our PPCD journey for Preston, and most importantly a lot of wonderful family and fun times! The weekend before Thanksgving we went to A&M to watch Aunt Ashy dunk her Aggie Ring. Now you might say, wow that is not quite a child appropriate event. I do agree, but Ashley and her two friends dunking with her had quite a crowd and we were at the back with the boys in their wagon so they really didn't have a clue what was going on. She dunked her ring at their tail gate party before the Nebraska game and the second round of airplane fly-overs occurred right as Ashley started so that was the boys main focus. They were cheering for the airplanes while we were cheering on Aunt Ashy!! I will say she rocked it with at 1 min and 22 second time. Draw your own conclusions as to what my sister has mastered during her time in Aggieland. ;-) Actually, I always loved going to ring dunkings even though I never was talked into dunking my own Aggie Ring (well several Aggies have thrown my ring into a few shots over the years to call it even). I am not a big beer chugger, but cheering people on always made me laugh and I have several fond memories of watching friends dunk theirs. I helped plan Stephanie and Christina's ring dunk at our house in Bryan. I will not go into details as to how that all "came out," ;-) but needless to say I have great memories of this fun Aggie tradition.

Christina met us in Aggieland that weekend, too!! It was her first time back since she had graduated and I was so glad she came. I jump at any chance I get to spend time with my best friend and spending it in Aggieland is even better. I just love going back to A&M! Being there brings back so many wonderful memories and things just feel right in the world there. Christina and I were walking around looking for a friend who was also tailgating and we both had this great epiphany about life as we watched hundreds of Aggies having fun with friends, all supporting their school and just enjoying life. Christina and I have said many times over the last few years that as we grow older the innocence of our youth slowly starts to fade and the harsh realities of adulthood win over. As we were walking around, we thought back to the late nights of studying, the stress and pressure of school and grades and what the future would hold with love and life. We both realized that we really had no idea that life could, and would be more difficult/stressful as we grew older and the responsibilities of life would not just be so narrowly focused on ourselves like they were back then. At the time, the stress felt all consuming and at the pinnacle of what life could bring, but wow were we wrong. We had a good laugh as we talked about this and I thought back to how my Dad would always tell me to enjoy college because the real world is waiting for you when you get handed your diploma. Boy was he right! I think that is one reason I love going down to A&M so much, for a bit while I am there I think I "check out" of the real world and "check in" to the bubble that is Aggieland.

I will really miss having Aunt Ashy's place to crash at after May!! As Randy, Christina and I were pulling the wagon with boys back to the car, we were dreaming of which house we would like to all buy together so we could come to all the games and tailgate and cheer on the Aggies. I have a feeling I am not the only one who is going to miss Ashley being there! We had a lot of fun that weekend and Luke really got to put his "Gig'em Aggies" saying to good use!! The boys ran and played so hard at the tailgate that Luke fell asleep sitting up in the wagon and Preston was asleep before we pulled away from our parking spot! I was pregnant with the boys when we moved Ashley into her dorm that late summer 3 years ago and now her time is coming to a close. Texas A&M is a special place that is really hard to put into words. I am so glad Ashley followed in mine and Steph's footsteps because I know Randy and I have really enjoyed getting to experience A&M again through her eyes! Who knows maybe we will have some little Aggie's of our own someday???

Stephanie, MiC and Baby Caroline made the trek from New Mexico to Nannie's house the day before we went to Aggieland and stayed until the Sunday after Thanksgiving. I had to work late that Thursday night before our trip so Randy took the boys over to Nannie's house so they could all three meet Baby Caroline for the first time. Luke has been saying Baby Caroline since before she was born, so he knew when we said Baby Caroline was coming that he was going to get to see a baby. Preston wasn't quite so into her. Randy said Luke patted her bottom while he was holding her, but Preston was sorta into his own thing and being shy! When I took the boys over on Friday morning to see her before we left I was holding her in the room alone and Preston was being his wild self and climbing on one of the chairs. I was telling him to get down, because he has issues catching himself and has had way to many close calls with his head and tile floor. So as I was holding little 6 week old Caroline and trying to yell loud enough to get Preston's attention it all hit me. Having a tiny baby and rambuncious twins who need some constant watching would be even harder than I always tell Randy it would be. ;-) So I felt very comfirmed in my feelings that we need to wait a while longer before trying to expand our family!

I mean I really love this Aunt of a baby business!! I have been an Aunt since Randy and I got married, which I love a lot also, but they are older. We have more of the slumber party, stay up to late kind of fun when they come down from Columbus to visit. Having a baby to play with and then to give back when she screams, poops or pukes is a pretty sweet deal. ;-) We spent the whole week cuddling her, snuggling and loving on her and then poor Steph and MiC were the ones up at 4, 5 or 6am feeding her. ;-) Actually she is a really, really good baby as long as you don't make her wait too long for her bottle. When she's hungry, you better get her bottle and fast!! I was in amazement really how put together and wonderful Steph was. She got dressed and had her hair done more that week than I do on a typical week now. ;-) I think I would really have to think about the first time I actually got dressed up after the boys were born??? Stephanie is of course an amazingly loving mother and she has just the right touch to calm little Caroline when she is fussy just like our Mom did. I really loved getting the chance to feed her, change her and do all those things that just felt so overwhelming at times when the boys were little. Being an Aunt is a really amazing thing. Seeing your little sister be "The Mom" and getting to see those things in Caroline that remind me of Stephanie are very special. I can only imagine how it makes my parents feel!! We are all blessed to have this new addition to our family!

We all decided to go to Plano one afternoon after Caroline's first photo shoot at the arboretum and have a suishi fest. MiC and Steph always want suishi when they come into town so we waited for Ashley to get home from school for Thanksgiving break that day and then enjoyed a beautiful afternoon on the patio at the Shops at Legacy for some yummy suishi and a lot of laughs. Baby Caroline and Luke were awesome!! Caroline slept like an angel. Luke really feels like he no longer needs a high chair so if he is in an amicable mood Randy and I will let him sit on his knees in a chiar - he is bypassing the booster all together. So he sat next to me in his chair and really devoured some edamame. He really loved to chew on the pods - so I let him and he kept Ashley and I laughing. Preston on the other hand was not exactly happy to being happy-houring it on the patio that day. He took a nap on the way over in the car because he failed to nap at school that day. When he was awakened by his brother making screeching bird noises he wasn't too happy about that. As some of you know, if either boy gets too upset while crying it sometimes leads to coughing, which sometimes leads to gagging, which always leads to massive vomiting. So here we were in the car in Plano parked watching "The Puppy" movie (101 Dalmatians) waiting on Steph and MiC when it starts happening. Ashley was in the way back yelling at me to come back there, Randy's yelling at me to get something to catch it in, Luke's making screeching bird noise and Preston well you know what he's doing. So I hop out, get to Preston's seat and I reach down on the ground and what do I grab, but someone's brand spanking new, been in the car for 5 minutes Turkey Trot shirt we just picked up at Luke's Locker. I shove it under his chin just in time before he christens Daddy's new turkey shirt. Poor Daddy he always get the short straw, but we saved Preston's clothes and the majority of the car seat I had some anti-bac wipes to wipes us both down with and away we went. I think Randy and I both had a fleeting moment of pack it up and head home, but we pressed on and with some walking, singing, fountain watching , iphone cooarsing we managed to get Preston in his high chair on the patio that afternoon and MiC had a beer waiting for Randy when he finally sat down. ;-) Preston turned his frown upside down once he got a hold of my phone and the Talking Tubby game on it. We ended up all having a nice time. One of MiC's friend stopped by, the weather was beautiful and the suishi was good. It was so nice to just have a fun afternoon with all of us!!

Our Thanksgiving was really great, also. Luke got very distraught the night before Thanksgiving. We had to make a late stop at the grocery store on the way home from Nannie's house and I just ran in to to get the boys their carnation instant breakfast and milk while they waited in the car with Randy. Well for some reason this brought back memories of when we bought our pumpkins from that same store one night probably 6 weeks earlier. I was in the store by myself also that time and Randy text me to buy 6 pumpkins and then he loaded them up while the boys watched. So for some reason this night Luke wanted to get more pumpkins, which turned into "Time to go trick-or-treat!!!" We had to persuade him that tomorrow was Turkey Day and that it was really fun, too. He wasn't too happy about not going trick-or-treating that night, but luckily by the next day he was ok with saying it was Turkey Day!!

As we were driving just East of Dallas to have Thanksgiving with my Dad's Aunt Margie and his cousin Suzy's family we passed Children's Medical Center where we nearly spent Christmas at almost 2 years ago. It just again reminded me of how thankful I am that the boys are healthy and we don't have to worry much anymore about spending a holiday in the hospital with a sick child. Randy and I both said a special prayer that day for those families who spent the holiday in the hospital and thanked God for how far the boys have come. We may still have some challenges, but the fear that every lost meal puts us one step closer to a tube or hospitalization is no longer there and that is something I am so thankful for. I try to remind myself of that when one of the boys gets sick. Now it's just an inconvient, mess that makes me sad they are having to experience, but it's not filled with the fear, frequency or anxiety the way it use to be. God has heard so many of ours, our friends, our families and strangers prayers. He has helped Preston and Luke so much! That is one of the many things I am so thankful for! We had a nice time with my Great Aunt Margie and my Dad's cousin Suzy. They are so sweet to the boys and even had booster seats for the boys to sit in for dinner. Preston had yogurt and Luke only wanted a little cheese and a cracker, but I sometimes still sit in awe when Luke says he is hungry. So he basically gets to eat whatever he wants these day. The boys played so nicely there and pulled out every toy in Suzy's toy box - even some match box cars from the 70s. Randy inspected those and claims he had few that were similar himself. ;-) We had a wonderful time and are very grateful to always be welcome at Aunt Margie's!!

We had a such a special week hanging out at my parent's with Stephanie and MiC. For a few days it felt like they didn't have to go back, but by Friday I started to remember they were about to leave on Sunday morning, so I snuggled Caroline tight and I was able to feed her after our late night card game on Friday night. I even got to rock her and help get her settled to sleep. She is such a sweet little one and I am going to cherish every time Steph and MiC bring her home. They are spending Christmas in New Mexico because MiC's sister from Latvia and her family are coming to see them. We will miss Caroline's first Christmas, but they are coming home the weekend of Jan 15th and we are already counting down!!! I have scheduled in plenty of snuggling time!

Well, this week starts the main week for Preston's PPCD final evaluations. Also, his ARD meeting is Thursday to discuss his most likely acceptance into Southlake Carroll's PPCD program. Our main evaluation with all potential therapists is tomorrow and as this day is closing my anxiety is rising a bit. I know he is going to be in the best place for him. I know he will benefit greatly from being in school everyday and having teachers trained to work with his needs. That is what I keep telling myself when I feel sad about it. I guess it is just a little hard to fully comprehend this path we are about to start on. My Mom is a retired teacher and I remember waiting many afternoons in my Mom's room while she was in an ARD meeting. I quickly learned growing up that ARDs are not something to look forward to as teacher or a parent. I always thought ARD's were for special children and now I have a child that needs some special help. Randy and I are going to be the parents on Thursday sitting in that room advocating for our childs needs and finding the best solutions for him. I know I come into this situation seeing it somewhat differently than Randy just because I grew up over hearing my Mom talk about them. I pray that we can both be the right balance of optimism and skeptism to result in finding the right things for Preston. I do know we are so blessed to have been able to move this summer to such a wonderful school district and I pray that it continues to pay off as we move forward.

To answer someone's question from a few months ago about Southlake Carroll's PPCD program here is what sets it apart from other school districts. CISD's PPCD is the only district we could find, possibly in the whole state, that offers what they call a blended PPCD program. Carroll ISD opens the preschool program to all students in the district to go to preschool once they are 3 as of September 1st on a tution and lottery basis. If your child qualifies for PPCD by having certain disabililities they enter the program on the first school day on or after their 3rd birthday for no cost. This is just part of the states requirements of school districs for children with disabilities. From what I have been told the classes are made up of approximately 1/4 special needs children and 3/4 "typically" developing children. This is what makes Southlake Carroll PPCD so unique. Preston will continue to be pushed and learn from his peers like he has been in the preschool his is in now, he will now just also receive the extra help he needs to be able to keep up and hopefully catch up in some areas. So that is the low down as far as I know it now. If I learn anything new I will update as we go.

Thanks for following us on this journey. I was at Scottish Rite this past week for the Christmas Tree lighting and I was able to catch up there with some friends I hadn't seen in a while. It always amazes me how caring people can be and how much they keep us in their prayers. Despite things they may have going on they always take time to check in on us. We appreciate the one of you who helps watch Luke while we are at Preston's appointments, who even offers sometimes with out us asking ;-), those of you we know and love and those of you who are strangers who keep us in prayer, I especially thank all of you. And to all of you, you all know who you are, my best friends who provide a shoulder for me to lean on and a listening ear when I need it. I couldn't make it without out y'all. Y'all give me a voice of reason when I struggle to find it within myself. You give me a safe, unjudging place to talk about my fears and you remind me of my faith when I sadly need reminding. You make me a stronger, better person and I thank you all from the bottom of my heart! I know men and women have different needs, but I will ask you to pray for Randy tonight. I feel like I can really say without a doubt that often Randy doesn't have the emotional outlets like I do, whether he thinks he needs one or not. Through this journey I have learned at times that it can be hardest on the Dads. They don't have the friends and family asking them "how they are doing?" because that's just not what guys do with each other. I just ask you to keep him in your prayers tonight, to guide him, give him a peace about things and to help him continue to lead our family. Randy and I both appreciate all that you do so much! I'll keep you posted on how this week goes. Goodnight!!

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