Wednesday, September 3, 2014

He's a Rock Star

Well, he's finally tired! Judah has been through 2 1/2 weeks of all day kindergarten, and it's finally catching up to him. I thought for sure he'd be falling asleep at the dinner table, or on the way home from school, or crashing at 7. But no. These last 2 mornings, however, I've been getting him dressed while he's sleeping! And, for the first time, he was not ready for school. I had to walk him in and leave him crying in his classroom doorway. Not fun. Bless his amazing teacher and para:) Apart from this morning, he has seemed to love every minute of school! He made a special hat one day and wore it into the evening at home.

He has filled the side of our fridge with pictures and notes from his teachers.

He is obsessed with his teacher's hair. "It's so long! Her hair is brown!" He LOVES his PE teacher. His whole little face lights up when he talks about Mr. Hesik! Every single day he walks out of the building, runs to me with a big smile on his face, gives me a big hug and says... "Can we go home now?" Ha! He loves school, but he's ready to come home and snuggle.

Everyday I hear various kids saying hi or bye to him, by name. His teacher said that his first week went really well! There are challenges that we knew there would be and were ready for; but there are also things we thought would be a challenge and they haven't been! She said he's happy and energetic about everything and he loves to participate. Yup, no surprise there. His services have been going well, and he seems to enjoy the time he gets with each one of his providers. It's been so fun to "watch" him experience all of these new things through the eyes of Lydia & Ezra who see him at school. AND, he's even telling me things about school and is able to answer some of my questions! This is a HUGE change from preschool! He's grown a lot over the summer. Oh, and if I could just brag about one more little thing. He totally read 27 sight words one day at school last week. This kid is amazing.

We finally moved from the 5 point harness to the big boy seat belt! It was a big day for everyone;)

Friday, August 15, 2014

2 Days Down...and Aced!

Judah is loving kindergarten so far, and has had 2 very good days! His teacher, special ed. teachers, & school counselor have all told me that he's done really well, he's so sweet, & he already has quite a fan club. Not surprising at all considering who we're talking about. That little boy has always been a charmer! He seems to have grown right before my eyes in the last 48 hours. I love listening to all the things he has to say about school and watching him get so excited!

Thanks so much for praying for him - for us - and for all the encouraging notes! It's powerful knowing that we are NOT alone.

Walking to the van with Dad after school

Judah's "I'm excited about school!" face

Thursday, August 14, 2014

Ready... Set... Kindergarten!

As I write this Judah is at school with the most wonderful Kindergarten teacher on the planet (save my sistah moon) and 19 other kiddos. I've been thinking about him all morning; wondering what he's doing, what he's thinking, what the other kids are thinking about him, and how in the world have 5 years gone by?!

I've actually been avoiding this post. We've been in somewhat of a blessed holding pattern these last couple of years with Judah's health and development: no overnight hospital stays, no major surgeries, no major illnesses, and nothing but successes to report from pre-school! I have had the opportunity to take a step back and enjoy a very "normal" life with Judah. He's such an amazing kid - as you know if you've read much of this blog - and it's been a gift to just coast along with him, and eat up just him in all his glory, without having to deal with...extras. I have allowed myself to stuff emotions and fears and live in this state of false security, apathy, and...procrastination I guess. I just haven't wanted to face the reality that huge change is upon us. And though it's good change, it certainly comes with a load of anxiety, uncertainty, and question marks for me.

I was welcomed back to the "Land of the Living with Special Needs" (I hate that I just used that label) on Monday when we went to Judah's MDT (Multi-Disciplinary Team) Meeting. He's got a whole new team of service providers and teachers in a whole new district, so...let's put it this way: 19 people and 90 minutes later I was ready to curl into the fetal position and have a good cry. I love Judah! I am so proud of him! I want everybody to know that he's mine and he's extraordinary...just like my other kids! But there always has to be "those meetings" of explanation, preparation, action planning, and services coordinating; and I just feel like sometimes Judah becomes the diagnoses...instead of just Judah.

That being said, I am confident that God has orchestrated every detail, down to every person on his team, every kid in his class, and every moment of every day he's away from me. And I think he has a really great team. Literally a small village of people who care about him, want to see him succeed, and are committed to doing their very best for him. That's pretty amazing.I also believe that God put Judah in the class that He did for the other kids, too. I think it's impossible to know Judah personally without being positively impacted in some way. I'm already praying for their little hearts, believing that in the next several months and years that Judah is in that class, God is going to work powerfully!

Judah is ready for Kindergarten. He couldn't wait to start! He was so excited he could hardly talk this morning! He marched his way into school, wearing that as-big-as-he-is backpack, and settled into his classroom like he'd already done it a hundred times. All with that huge, beautiful, endearing grin on his face.

And then there's me. And the reason I've been hiding from this blog. Reality hurts sometimes. And fear is a very real and powerful emotion. And I don't like to cry. And writing here has led to some of my biggest cries...ever. But here's the thing. This is also the place where God has met me, held me, comforted me, reminded me, restored me...and I've missed that. By choosing to avoid facing the pain and the "hard" of this next stage of life, I've robbed myself of experiencing God in amazing, impactful ways. My loss. So here's to a fresh start. A Rescuer that waits patiently for me. 

My biggest fear is that kids won't like or accept Judah. That he'll be teased, ostracized, excluded, or treated like less of a person. When I look at this picture of him, my heart breaks at the thought that kids (or parents) won't look past the differences to the amazing kid he is! He's just Judah! He doesn't care that he's any different! He's perfectly comfortable in his own skin, and wants so badly to be like any other kid! To do what they're doing, experience what they're experiencing. And he doesn't see any reason that he shouldn't be able to! What if kids put him down? And what if he understands what's happening and begins to believe that there's something wrong with him...or that he's less of a person than someone else...or that he's anything less than exactly who God created him to be and how WE see him? It's hard to deal with this crap with any kid. But there's an innocence and a vulnerability about Judah that is one of the things I treasure most about him! There are so many "what ifs" floating around my brain. It would be easy to give in to the fear and allow myself to become a blubbering mess. It just would. For me, there is a measure of comfort in fear. I am so comfortable with it and the illusion that I have some sort of control over it. 

BUT GOD. I choose those 2 words instead. I love Judah...BUT GOD loves him more than I can possibly fathom! I want to protect Judah...BUT GOD is his Rescuer, the Lover of his soul, the One Who knows exactly what he needs at every moment and only He can provide it perfectly. I have a good plan for Judah...BUT GOD has a perfect plan. I want Judah to experience only good (my definition)...BUT GOD has only good (His definition) for him. And ya know what? God's good will certainly include hard things and hurt...but then to God be the glory. Because only God sees how the hurt will be used to glorify Him and to impact Judah's heart, or to impact those around him for the Kingdom. And the hurt will absolutely keep me on my knees, trusting that God is Who He says He is and that His Word stands. 

This has been a tough few days for me. It has felt very much like the end of my pregnancy and the first year of Judah's life. I had to decide then that God's glory and His Kingdom were more important than anything else, and then I had to let go of Judah and let God have His way. I find myself facing that very same decision. And I'm making the same one. I choose God and His way and His heart and His everything for Judah and me and my family. 

Today I choose to celebrate this amazing milestone! Guys, 5 years ago we didn't know if Judah was going to come home! 4 years ago we didn't know if he was going to sit by himself! 3 years ago we didn't know if he was going to walk or talk! 2 years ago...he started walking! 1 year ago...he started talking in sentences! His whole world has exploded and he's reached almost every goal that has been set in front of him! And the ones he hasn't reached, he just hasn't YET! AND NOW HE'S IN KINDERGARTEN! And let's not ignore the fact that he's TOO SMART to qualify for special ed. K! Judah is off the charts awesome! 

So, here we go. I mean, HERE WE GO!!!  

"Let the beloved of the LORD rest secure in Him, for He shields him all day long, and the one the LORD loves rests between His shoulders."
Deuteronomy 33:12 

Tuesday, February 4, 2014

Judah, Judah, JUDAH! part V

January 20: He is his brothers' biggest fan

February 1: Still Mommy's Boy

February 3: His Best Friend

February 4: Showing off his writing skills. Yup, that says "Judah"!

Saturday, February 1, 2014

Judah, Judah, JUDAH! part IV

October: family day at Vala's

October: Happy Halloween! (Judah was Ollie Puppy)


December: 1st batch of cookies (he picked snowmen)


January 2014: 1st time in the snow...ever!

Judah, Judah, JUDAH! part III

August: got a new Buddy while Dad & Eli were at YFCamp

August: celebrated a birthday & an anniversary in WI

August: back to school & his favorite teacher

September: eye muscle surgery

Judah, Judah, JUDAH! part II

June: Happy 4th Birthday! 

June: visiting cousins in Enid, OK


July: 1st fair ride

Judah, Judah, JUDAH! part I

As promised, here is Judah's Pictorial Year in Review!

Christmas 2012

January 2013

March: IMAX at the Zoo

Easter 2013 

Wednesday, January 29, 2014

Has it really been a YEAR since I last escaped to this secluded spot? That's almost impossible to believe...and yet the dates don't lie. When I think about everything that Judah has experienced and accomplished in the last 14 months, I'm completely overwhelmed! Wanna know one of the best parts? Judah has spent the last 17 months at home - not one hospitalization!!! God has been so abundantly gracious and generous in equipping and enabling us to meet Judah's needs at home, with the help of amazing doctors, so that we have been able to treat every illness and infection without a single admit. I never saw this day coming. I thought it wasn't possible. BUT GOD is the author of Judah's story and his Healer, and He has something else in mind for this little lion. Judah's status could change at any time. He could be admitted today...we have learned to accept the fact that we just never really know with him. But, I am thankful for every day that God gifts him with good health, and I will be thankful that the experts are available to him when he does need them again 24/7.

In the last 14 months Judah has hit a ridiculous amount of milestones. So many things that I have taken for granted with my other kids because they naturally hit them at the "normal" appointed time and without much effort. He has changed drastically in the area of social interaction. He's met fine and gross motor skills. He's running, jumping, marching, dancing, singing, initiating conversation, speaking in full sentences, telling "knock knock" jokes, imitating his siblings to death, talking about school and his new friend, wanting to do everything his brothers do, throwing, kicking, climbing, problem-solving, sounding out words, writing words, spelling his name, writing his name, climbing stairs upright, and, as always, winning the hearts of the people that are lucky enough to come into contact with him. Do you see that  list? There are HUGE things on there. And he does them ALL INDEPENDENTLY!!! Do you see God all over this? Because I do! I see God's fingerprints all over that little fire ball when I look at him! To think that we didn't know if he was going to live...if he was going to make eye contact...if he was going to hold his head up...roll over...sit He's done it ALL, and he's done it on God's time, with his own endearing, adorable style. I'm floored by God's goodness in this journey, and by His work in the mind and body of just one little boy who has been so underestimated and misjudged at times.

When I'm able I'll post a blog of pictures and videos from the last year. You won't believe the changes he's made, how much he's grown up! He's still way too adorable - way too sweet and snuggly and funny - but he's looking more and more like a big boy. Just like he is:)