Sunday, September 28, 2014

Another 2 week update...

-Grace has continued to amaze us with her pee peeing in the potty, her LOVE for her school, and most recently she took 4 independent steps!  A few things about Grace's school that continue to blow my mind is how purposeful they are about everything they do, from teaching them important life skills at such a young age (brushing their teeth, sitting on the potty, practicing the expression of emotions/interactions with others appropriately by practicing on their baby dolls, the "conscious discipline" method they use,  etc) to exuding joy from the moment you park in the parking lot until you leave the parking lot and everything in between.  When we first heard about and toured the Rise School, we loved it, but we knew unequivocally that getting a spot, the cost, and distance from our home (logistics) were impossible without God's intervention and blessing over the situation.  We are so grateful that God intervened and made a way for us to join one of the coolest and special families one could imagine.

-Last weekend Abigail's soccer game was cancelled due to weather, so we headed to the zoo and had a great time!  Although we have the worst luck with the chimpanzee's...  those little rascals always see it fit to charge the window at full speed right where our kids are standing, which then scares/traumatizes the daylights out of them!  This time Grace got her first charging monkey experience :-/.

-One of the events of the week that was another sweet glimpse into God's much bigger and better plan came when Abigail earned enough "money"/points at school to trade in for a prize.  The prize that she chose was to sit with a special friend at lunch (this means that should could sit with anyone in second grade during lunch, which is a treat because everyday they are allowed to sit with only their class at a designated table).  We were excited to hear what special friend that she was going to choose because the obvious choice in the past has always been her very best friend, Julia.  However, Julia is being home schooled this year, so she was not an option this time.  Abigail acted as if she was surprised that we even had to ask, when she replied "I'm going to sit with Special Ed!"  We weren't surprised a bit, but our hearts sure did swell with praise for the fact that one of my many fears when we got Grace's diagnosis had officially been triumphed with God's goodness.  You see, when we got Grace's diagnosis, I worried what this would mean for Abigail and Andrew.  Would their lives be marked by inconvenience, feeling forgotten about, and some how change their sweetness into bitterness that they have a special needs sister.  We have seen a million different examples already of how that fear couldn't have been further from reality, however Abigail's choice was a vivid reminder that God is using Grace and her extra chromosome to help her (and us) love, see the value, and awesomeness of ALL people (especially those that have special needs)!  Instead of a special needs sister being a hindrance, they count it as an honor and great joy to "get to" have a special needs sister versus a "have to." God is good all the time, even when, to our earthly eyes, our circumstances look less desirable than what we might have envisioned for our lives.

And this little sweetie also has a gift of being a sweet friend to all.  As I've mentioned before, he is ALL KINDS of silly, but he can melt your heart with his sweet words like nobody else.  We have noticed over the past couple of years that he too is drawn to and loves to look out for anyone that he meets who may have big or little special needs.  While this soft heart is most certainly a gift, we are seeing how a soft heart can easily lead to a hurt heart.  This is one of those lessons that is hard to watch your kiddo walk through (but I'm grateful that we get to learn these lessons incrementally, I know the consequences only increase as the kiddos get older), but by God's grace it's led to some wonderful and fruitful discussion that with a lot of prayer will be a lesson that will serve him well throughout life.

-The kids had Western Day at school last Friday.   I totally forgot to take a picture before they left for school, so I asked David to take one for me when they get home.  This is what I got...  still precious, but certainly not the same fresh look I dropped them off at school with (Andrew's shirt isn't tucked in, Abby's hair could use a brush, etc).  I guess this is what a lot of learning and playing looks like.  Love these two!!!

-David and I were blessed with a much needed date day at the Houston Dynamo (soccer) game.  We aren't fans of taking selfies, so this is the best we have to remember our fun date by :-)...

-We are all really looking forward to our vacation to California because we are in desperate need of family time and we are eager to celebrate all that God has done over the past year in our lives!  However, there is one week that stands between us and our family vacation and that is my work meeting in Las Vegas the week before our vacation.  I get home late on a Friday night and we fly out early Saturday morning.  As I have mentioned before, the kiddos are in an especially needy place in life right now (needy for time with David and I) and who could blame them.  They have endured a ton of uncertainty and distance/time apart from us over the past two years, but especially the past year (with Grace being in Boston, etc).  After much discussion and prayer, we broke the news to the kids yesterday that I will be out of town for a week before our vacation.  They (we) are choosing to have an "attitude of gratitude" (focusing on what we have to be grateful for versus those things that we don't like) about it, although there are still some tears and fear about being apart.  Will you please pray for their little hearts, that they would know how much they are loved, they would have a sense of peace and security while I'm gone, and we would have a GREAT vacation when I return?  I know that this might sound sort of trivial, but to them (us) it feels so big.

-I almost forgot one more prayer request...  The kids all have a dentist appointment this week, that includes Grace :-/.  This will be her first dentist visit and with all that she's been through in her little life with people poking and prodding her, I'm afraid that the visit is going to be a disaster. Please pray that Grace allows them to look in her mouth without taking off one of their fingers and without being traumatized.

THANK YOU for all that continue to lift our family up in prayer and choose to join us on this Divinely designed journey!  Village, please know that we are praying for you too!

Grace's lesson to us all is to smile so big that you can't see because it's infectious!

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