Friday, April 27, 2012

update time!

It has been forever since an update! Honestly, we haven't had a ton going on, but here's a few photos to show you what we've been up to!

Carson has started swimming lessons! There's a rehab hospital near by with an adaptive swimming program. Carson gets a one-on-one class with an expert! He absolutely LOVES it! He is currently in the middle of his second session already and is learning a lot. They work on arm strokes and kicking, holding his breath and getting over the common fear of going under water. His instructor, Miss Jenny, said that he is very much like any other typical, "normal" 3 year old in the water. Even though he has Spina Bifida it does not seem to cause as much of a challenge for him while in the water. I was surprised to hear this! I think this may be the beginning of many many swim lessons!

Recently we also had a get-together with all my friends who have children with Spina Bifida! We rented a play place for all the families and had a pizza party there too. I can never believe how blessed we are to have such a great group of friends. It has been incredible getting to know all the families in our group and watching our kids become friends. In the photo above, Carson is hanging out with his long time pal, Greyson. I think they're chatting about their crazy moms who can never put their cameras down.

Carson also did another session of therapy at One Plus One. Can I just brag for a minute? This kid is doing incredible things! We have been working on walking independently (I can't even believe I'm saying this), and since his session he wants to be on his feet ALL THE TIME. In fact, just the other day he walked all the way from the living room, through the dining room, and into the kitchen all on his own! Ok, so our house is pretty small, but this is a record either way! He is so proud of himself!

In April Carson was able to experience his first adaptive Easter egg Hunt! My mom in law was kind enough to create and fund the event for the West Michigan Spina Bifida Organization. It was a huge hit and the kids loved it!

We also decorated Easter eggs at the party.
Carson sure is growing up! Actually, he's gearing up to become a big brother! We're expecting our 2nd child and our due date is Nov 2! We are very excited! Please pray for a healthy baby.

Friday, January 13, 2012

3 years ago...

3 years ago my little sweetheart was born! Isn't this just such a precious picture? This was taken a few hours after he was born when we finally got to meet and spend time with him in the NICU. What an incredible day! I think I probably experienced every emotion possible. 

Now here he is on his 3rd birthday! What a journey the past 3 years has been! There has been many days that have been overwhelming and hard and many sleepless nights of worrying. But there have been so many incredible days of joy, accomplishment, contentment, and pride. 
On January 6, 2009, I was given a baby that honestly I never pictured for myself. And now I cannot imagine or picture my life without him. He is a blessing I do not deserve.
Happy Birthday, Carson. I love you!

Monday, December 19, 2011

First Steps

Lately Carson has developed a strong desire to be on his feet more. More than ever he is cruising along furniture to get to his destination instead of dropping to the floor to crawl there. One of his favorite activities is walking back and forth from the couch to me, or between Nate and I. Currently he uses his sticks (fore-arm crutches) to get around and he is doing very well with them. Obviously these primitive steps are just the beginning. We hope that with his determination and hard work he will be able to turn these steps into walking independently. Regardless, we are so proud of him!

Thursday, December 8, 2011

Big boy bed... sort of

Last night Carson slept in his new "big boy bed." Nate and I have been meaning to transform his crib into the toddler stage for quite some time. I found a toddler guard rail online (way cheaper than the wooden version you can buy for this crib) and finally the make-over was finished :) Carson couldn't be happier! Of course, as you can see, he still has his be-loved bumper which he snuggles up to every night, and also his peep (pacifier), so clearly we are making baby steps.

Carson is very proud of his new independence.

He can climb into his bed on his own!

He can also get down on his own, an ability we will never take for granted.

In this photo he has just slid down from his bed and is beginning to take steps towards me, another new thing he is doing! It's more like hurling himself forward while moving his feet rapidly but it is very exciting to see him venturing into it. He has always been pretty cautious so it's incredible to see him trying to take steps even though it usually results in falling at the end. It's a big step for him to let go of his surrounding supports (furniture, people, or his crutches), so we are so proud of him for trying!

Wednesday, November 30, 2011

Happy Thanksgiving!

It's a little late for a Thanksgiving post, but I just wanted to update that last week we left Carson's Ophthalmologist with yet another new prescription because his vision keeps improving! So thankful!

Saturday, November 12, 2011

The Perfect Costume

It has been pretty busy lately! It's already mid November and I'm finally posting Halloween pics! October was a crazy month for us. Carson completed another intensive therapy session at 1 Plus 1 Therapy. Many of you know the intensive session routine: wake up, go to therapy, go home and collapse, go to bed, repeat. We did this every day for 3 weeks and although it was a tiring schedule it was also amazing. Carson always makes such great progress during these sessions and it's so fun to see him gain more strength, ability, and confidence throughout this time. Anyway, it was actually quite a miracle that Carson had a costume for Halloween. We were able to squeeze in a shopping trip to Target and thankfully they had the perfect costume... Elmo, of course.

Carson was very proud of his Elmo costume. Elmo is pretty much his hero (Although Thomas the Train is gaining popularity with him again).

We even had an Elmo pumpkin.
Carson Trick or Treated around our block riding in his wagon. He even used his "sticks" to walk to some of the houses to say, "Candy!" ("Trick or Treat" never really took off, although he did say "Thank you" at least.)
At one point Carson got confused and started handing out his own candy to nearby trick or treaters. So cute:)

Here's a few photos of Carson at 1 Plus 1 Therapy. Bubble time is his absolute favorite. Here's a picture of him mastering 1 stick like a pro! At this point he is learning to stand with the support of only one stick while he uses his other hand to pop bubbles. His balance is getting so much better and he's pretty comfortable and confident standing this way.

In this photo (above) Carson is playing with a marble toy. His only support is the thin, red rope which actually moves about 4" either direction. In other words, he's learning to maintain his balance while standing. Just a few short months ago he was using his walker to stand which is very stable and now he can stand while holding onto a wobbly rope. Great progress!

Carson's walker has been sitting in his closet now for about 3 weeks. We have officially and completely transitioned to the sticks. It's still a bit awkward for him and at this point he's a little slower using the sticks compared to the walker. He also falls once in a while which is quite a dramatic scene. Yet, these are the necessary challenges in order to progress. The sticks have significantly less support than his walker which means that he has to work harder to balance and stabilize on his own which is a good thing.
Thankfully Carson has actually enjoyed all these transitions. Every morning when he woke up he was so excited to go to therapy and he has never asked for his walker back. He's a pretty easy going little guy... we'll see how long this lasts!

Friday, October 21, 2011

Stroll N Roll, the results!

Oct 15th started out as a windy, cold day. Actually, "windy" is a huge understatement. It was strong, pounding, mean, wind. And it wasn't just gusty, it was constant fan on level 3 crazy wind. Leigh and I showed up at the park to begin setting up with our volunteers (let me just say, we had the best volunteers ever! You'd think that by how great they were we we're paying them tons of money, but nope, they we're just awesome for free!) anyway, it was so windy that we pretty much had to do "plan b" for everything! None of our signs stayed up without excessive amounts of ugly duck tape which was very discouraging to have to use. And our raffle items didn't even last a second on the table before blowing half way across the park. It's the sort of situation where you just want to either cry or laugh hysterically at the craziness of everything!
Somehow, with lots of help, we figured it out. This group was pretty hardcore and wasn't going to let a little (okay, a lot) of wind stop them. Despite the weather, we were able to do the walk, the raffle, and serve lunch at the end! We had over 20 teams signed up for the event and even though Leigh and I were so busy and only had time to say 2 words to a few people, it was awesome to see so many kids with spina bifida and their families and friends there to support them and our organization!
The families at the event just made me so proud! These families conquer so much on just a daily basis already. They worked so hard to raise money for the organization and then showed up in a wind storm to support individuals with spina bifida. I wish that I had more time to meet everyone there. These families are my new heroes!
I'm excited to announce that the Stroll N Roll event raised over $20,000! Isn't that incredible?! I'd also like to share that Carson's Crew raised just over $5,500! I am just blown away by the generosity of everyone. I can't tell you how blessed I felt every time I opened my mailbox to see another check waiting for us! Not because of the amount of money but because as the donations poured in I was reminded how many of you care about us and the things that are important to us. Many of you graciously tell me how you are inspired by Carson's life, but let me say also that it's because of your support, prayers, and encouragement that allow us and inspire us to hopefully make a difference.

At the risk of sounding like I'm giving an awards speech or something, I really do have to say:

Rollers and Strollers, you amaze me. Let me just say, that if you think kids with SB are determined and strong, you should meet their whole family.

Carson's Crew and Carson's Club, I have no idea what I would do without you. You guys have stuck with me through everything! No one has encouraged me more than you.

Carson's Crew supporters, your contributions are like fuel. Not only will they go along way within our organization, but they encourage and motivate me as an advocate for Carson. Your donations are such a blessing to my family and my community.

Leigh, did you know that you have turned me into the type of person who plans events? If it weren't for you, I would be too chicken to do this sort of thing. Your friendship has made me a better person!