Sunday, May 15, 2016

DECISIONS!!!

A FEW WEEKS WORTH OF AN UPDATE...

-We ended up having to put our sweet fur baby, Tucker, down.  I knew it would be hard, but I didn't know it would be THAT hard.  While there were many teary days, we can all smile as we remember what a faithful companion Tucker was, from the way he would let the kids climb all over him to the way he would follow me around the house.  Twinkie seems to be adjusting to being by herself, although it was painful to watch her look at the door and wine (like she use to do when he would go to the groomer or vet and she stayed home) for Tucker for days until she finally gave up.  I think she might secretly like the extra attention (especially when my dad picks her up for a playdate while we are at work) and getting to go on adventures with us (soccer games, etc).

Besties for life!


David with the best wedding present ever, Tucker!

-Last weekend we had a mini carnival at Gigi's Playhouse while Abigail had a soccer game...

Grace showing off the craft Andrew made for her!




Added bonus: One of Grace's favorite friends, Eddie came!

-Look at these big kids!!!  This was from their Spring school pictures taken a few weeks ago.  Abigail is in 3rd grad and Andrew in 1st.

These are pictures of a picture, so sorry for the poor quality


-Andrew continues to love Cub Scouts and we continue to love watching him serve and grow.  So proud of him!

Tour of the police station...


Collecting food for the canned food drive... Andrew is on the far left


-Andrew is such a tough kiddo, when he isn't feeling well it's so hard to assess how sick he is because he will always say "I feel okay, I'm just tired."  I'm glad that we took him to the Dr after a day of having a fever because a chest X-ray revealed that he had pneumonia (again!).  After staying home from school for 3 days, he felt so much better.  As you know, when someone in the house gets sick, we try not to treat them like a leper, but it scares the daylights out of me that Grace may get sick...  which would be especially a disaster right now because we are just a week and a half out of her going back to Boston for a heart cath to dilate her valve.  If she gets sick between now and then, it will likely require us to reschedule her heart cath (which based on her last echo is much needed).  Will you please pray for health for our family, especially Grace leading up to her heart cath and, after of course, for a successful complication free heart cath?

 I love this selfie that Andrew accidentally took on my phone...

Please pray that these 3 (and their mommy and daddy) stay healthy, especially the cutie in the middle!

-We had Grace's yearly ARD meeting (meeting with the school district to plan what educational services your special needs child may need and can receive) two weeks ago and it went great!  Better than I could have ever imagined, actually...  so good, that it sent us to our knees as we pray about what the Lord has for Grace as it relates to school for the next two years.  As anyone who knows us in any capacity probably knows, we LOVE The Rise School (where Grace has gone to school for the past two years).  When describing it to people, the best description I can come up with is that it's a little slice of heaven. Therefore, at our ARD meeting I went in confident that we would keep next year (and the following year) doing exactly what we've been doing...  she would stay at the Rise School and receive speech services at our local elementary school, that was until the precious PPCD (preschool program for children with disabilities) teacher once again expressed her desire to have Grace in their program, to which I threw out every objection that I had as to why that program wouldn't be a good fit for us... to which she had a perfect response for everyone of my objections.  I left the meeting encouraged that it had gone so well and I really got the sense that each person who is a part of our ARD committee genuinely cares deeply for Grace's well being.  This was such a surprise to me because in the special needs community we learn so much about the law, knowing your rights, and how to advocate well for your child, so when things go like they are "suppose" to, it is sort of surreal.  Upon leaving the meeting, I committed to talking to David about the PPCD option, but it almost seemed ridiculous to talk to him about it because I couldn't even fathom the idea of Grace not finishing the next two years at the Rise School.  I called David at work and told him all about the meeting and reluctantly said "do you think we are suppose to pray about if this is the Lord's will for Grace at all?" and he agreed without hesitation.

A few details about the amazing PPCD Pegasus program that we are zoned to...
-It is an inclusion model, just like the Rise School.  50% of the children are typical developing (they are teachers kids and the other 50% are children with special needs).
-She would go a full day and be on the same schedule as the big kids (no random days or weeks off here and there like our current situation) and the school would be in our neighborhood (it's a different elementary school than the one the big kids go to and that Grace will attend, but it's still in the neighborhood).
-Great teacher to student ratio with a maximum of 12 kids and 4 adults (1 lead teacher and 3 aids).
-They use some conscious discipline strategies that the Rise School uses and we have come to love.
-Grace will get to meet/be in class with kiddos that will transition to Kindergarten with her, so she will have some familiar faces and friends that will hopefully make that transition easier.
-She should be able to bridge instead of starting Kindergarten as the youngest kid in the class.
-She will learn to get comfortable and thrive in the Kindergarten environment as she will have the opportunity to go to the cafeteria for lunch, go out to recess, learn how to be a good audience as they attend performances by the elementary age children, etc.
-Their goals for the children in terms of preparing them for Kindergarten are the same as the Rise School.
-She will receive her therapies there (speech, OT, and PT).
-and... it's free!

As we have been praying about this decision, I have gone through every emotion possible, but the biggest one was heartache imagining the possibility of not returning to the Rise School where Grace has thrived beyond our wildest imagination.  She has made precious friends, loves the teachers and staff, and let's face it... I love them too.  I realized that I love her school just as much (if not more) because they have been such a huge support, sense of security and safety net for me as we have been on the roller coaster ride of raising our precious Gracie Doo and keeping her alive.  All that being said, our biggest prayer is always that God would make His will clear in our lives and that we would have the courage to say "yes, Lord!"  Two days after our ARD meeting, I met with the director of the Rise School because I value her opinion so much and know that her heart is truly in favor of whatever is best for the child and their family.  I sat down in her office and couldn't help but break down in tears as I shared with her the decision we were faced with.  She comforted me with the exact perspective I needed.  She said, "let's just stop and be grateful that you have two great options and both really want your child in their school.  It was not that long ago that kiddos like ours didn't have any good option and you have two!"  She agreed that the PPCD program sounded fantastic and gave me some additional questions that I could ask.  As I told her that we had been and would continue to pray diligently about the decision, she told me to tour the class (which we are scheduled to do tomorrow) and then take our time making the decision.  Do you see why this school is so amazing?!?!  We have tried to include Abigail and Andrew in this process as much as possible, asking them to pray for wisdom about this decision, praying together often about it, checking in frequently to see how they are feeling about it, etc.  It has been a hard, but great process for all of us to work through.  It didn't take Andrew long to share that he thought the PPCD program made a lot of sense and would be good for Grace, where Abigail (much like her mommy) is very emotionally tied to the Rise School (that is where she hopes to work someday and she just loves being there), so it has been a more difficult process for her, but it's been neat to see the Lord work on her heart through it.

Will you please pray for three huge prayer requests...
1)  ***Grace (and the rest of the family) remains healthy before and after her heart cath and that the dilation of her valve goes flawlessly, with no short term or long term complications
3)  Wisdom and peace about Grace's school
4)  Abigail and Andrew do wonderfully while we are in Boston


THANK YOU FOR BEING SUCH FAITHFUL PRAYER WARRIORS, VILLAGE!

1 comment:

Julie Wigle said...

So sad to lose a member of your family, like Tucker! I feel your pain! :( We will be praying about your school decision, and the amazing thing is.....that God already knows the answer! :) We've been processing a lot more things with our kids too, and it's a great example for them to understand trusting in the Lord to guide your decision and deciding as a family what is best! Can't wait to see ya'll this summer!