The week before Thanksgiving we faced Jared's fears and stepped onto an airplane with all three toddlers (non-sedated!). After the non-stop flight to Seattle we called it a success since no passengers hated us at the end of the flight! Our first stop after greeting Nana & Papa Christianson at the airport was to meet our new neice, Mia. She is a doll! We then headed to Jared's grandmother's hospice to see her and wish her a happy 94th birthday. Noni had suffered a heart attach, stroke and pnemonia the week before our trip. We were so thankful that we were able to see her again, even though she couldn't communicate as well as we know she wanted to. We could see the "spark" in her eyes and knew the depth of her love without her having to say a word.
That same evening we drove another four hours to Portland to stay with Jared's extended family there for a day. We loved getting caught up with Jared's aunt, uncle and cousin, reading with Gigi and Grand Papa, and visiting with friends. Kai's highlight was playing with two new puppies. Those sweet dogs loved cuddling with Kai and giving kisses, but feared Isaac as he chased them and lunged for their tails. Kai is now saying that all he wants for Christmas is a "Big Doggie!" I hope that the stuffed variety will suffice until we get Isaac tamed!
We spent the four days in Yakima, WA with Jared's parents, brother, sister in law and baby girl. We had a great time and made many memories. Nana & Papa were impressed with Julia's verbal skills and now know more than they want to know about her plans for her Princess Birthday Party in six months!
The following weeks were busy with Jared traveling, doctor appointments, and Christmas preparations. Kai and Julia are much more aware of Christmas with all of it's magic this year. They look forward to doing our advent book each night...or at least to the chocolates that they receive! They also love singing the Christmas carols and seeing all of the Christmas lights. This past Sunday we had our second annual Christmas Nativity Lighting Ceremony with our home group from church. Here are a few pictures. Notice the last one of Julia sitting with her sweet friend. Moments later her hair was lit on fire by her candle! Good thing we had some quick thinkers (and blowers) around her! Never a dull moment...!
Here are a few more pictures of Christmas fun!
|Breakfast w/ Santa...Isaac is still enjoying his breakfast!|
|Happy Birthday Jesus Program....before Kai dis-robed out of his shepherd's costume!|
|Julia singing away!|
|making Gingerbread house....bad pic, but got all three of them in!|
|Random run-in to Santa on Main Street in Grapevine!|
|Dancing under the gazebo!|
This is also the time of year for all of Kai's medical tests and doctor appointments. We spent over 13 hours at Dallas Children's Hospital and the Scottish Rite hospital to complete Kai's MRI, nuclear medicine study on his kidneys, urodynamics (study of bowel/bladder function), and consultations with his specialists. We are so thankful for Dr. Adams with the Spina Bifida clinic. He spends so much time with his patients and has a genuine concern for their health and development. What a gem! We are waiting for results from the MRI, but the team of doctors are happy with his development, despite his speech delay. His kidneys look excellent...praise the Lord! The results also showed that Kai was able to have sustained contractions of his bladder, which make potty training without catheterizing a possibility. More than we have ever hoped for.
We are so thankful for God's protection over Kai. Just today I learned of a family in the area who gave birth to a baby boy with Spina Bifida who only lived for an hour. That makes my heart grieve, but also give thanks for each burst of laughter, tackle from one of my sons, and kiss from my children. What a gift each breath is.
We pray for a joyful Christmas for all of our friends and family and a blessed New Year!