I haven't blogged in months. For quite a bit of that time I was in a pretty deep funk. The holidays were hard, really hard. The longer it's been since losing Eli the harder it seems to be. I really sank into a pretty dark hole, and the world had moved on and didn't really seem to notice.
I tried my hardest to engulf myself in life and did a pretty good job of faking it when I needed to be out and interacting in public.
I finally made the decision that I needed to go back to work. I started casually looking for a job. Way tougher than I expected to find something to still allow me to be a wife and mother, and since I have been out of the work force so long.
I applied for a position, was called that afternoon, interviewed 2 days later, and started 3 days after that. It couldn't have been quicker, or a better fit for me. My job allows me to use my medical knowledge, experience, and empathy that I have for those in extreme medical situations. The hours aren't perfect, but they work. I enjoy it. I enjoy feeling like I am doing something. It's a glimpse of who I am outside of my husband, my kids, and especially my role these last years of an extension of Eli. It's definitely been an adjustment for our family with me back at work full time, but everyone seems to be settling into a routine; with minor life adjustments of course.
The kids are SOOOO busy and growing and thriving.
Ariana ~ Ari celebrated her 8th birthday in Feb and is wrapping up 2nd grade already. I can NOT believe how big she's getting. She is still a Daddy's girl and a Grandpa's girl through and through. They are incredibly protective of her, with her being the baby and all, and neither of them is ready for her to keep growing so fast. She is growing into such a strong independent little woman. She is rough and tough and as brave as could be, yet still maintains her princess side. It's so much fun to watch that balance. She lives to be outside with her bike and friends, and never wants to come in for the night. She's still our social butterfly and knows every child on our block. She's doing amazing in school, as always. It's such a breeze for her.
Benjamin ~ Ben is wrapping up 4th grade, and will be 10 (double digits) in June. Next year will be his last year in elementary school. He's going through some big changes right now. He's noticing some feelings and emotions and has really been watching how some friendships form and such. The bullying incident really opened up Ben's eyes to the world around him. He's said some things that show he's noticing and thinking ahead to middle school coming up in another year. He's still a little jokester and loves telling jokes. He's really going through a major tactile stage and that's been a challenge. He wants to touch and pet everyone he comes in contact with. At 9 yrs old we have just begun the toddler stage of exploring physical boundaries and such. It's tougher though when hitting this stage at his age. He's as obsessed as ever with his electronics and has learned the art of hacking. That's been fun...haha NOT. He's been spending quite a bit of time outdoors as well and has made a few friends in the neighborhood. He's doing ok in school, it really just depends on the day. He still working a lot on his typer, although doing more writing than ever before. The switch to constant 1 on 1 support at school was the best decision we could have ever made.
Jace ~ Jace is wrapping up 6th grade (his 1st yr in middle school) and will be 12 in August. He is situating better in school. The para supports and SPED classes have made a big change on his academics. He's still playing the clarinet in band, although his love is choir. He has been invited into the 7th grade choir for next yr and is excited about that. He spends as much time as he can outdoors as well. It's been a tougher situation since the bullying incident in December, as that has definitely changed his relationship with some of the neighborhood kids. He LOVES nerf guns and has been earning money so he can grow his collection. He spent quite a bit of time shoveling driveways over the winter months.
An update on the bullying situation : Our next court date is April 6th. The Protection Order has really helped at home and school. The police have not had to be called out since. After the stalking incident at school, they also made big changes and of course have copies of the protection order. It seems to have made a big change for Emily and Jace. We are anxious to see what happens next at court, and as always will update on the Project Jace page on FB.
Emily ~ Emily is wrapping up 8th grade (GRADUATING from middle school, HOLY YIKES) and is 14 yrs old. I don't even know where to begin with Emily. Let's see. She just finished this season of Wichita Youth Symphony and will be audition to move up to the next Orchestra for the next season. They had an amazing season and she of coursed love every minute of it. Both concerts were amazing. She continues to play in the church orchestra every Sunday and enjoys it. It also gives her great stage practice as well. She of course plays in the school orchestra as well. She has Pioneer League singles competition coming up as well as Pioneer League Orchestra state competition. She will be playing a solo in the state competition. She just finished her school talent show, playing her competition piece for practice. This Sunday she is visiting nursing homes for a recital, again for practice. She has a school event at a state college here in Kansas, with classes and an Orchestra concert coming up next month as well. She continues to attend private lessons 2 times a week for 3-4 hrs a week. She is also in choir and loves it. Last year at singles competition the colleges began speaking to her asking her where she was thinking of attending. She has really spend this last year wrapping her head around what she wants and where she wants to go. She has made the decision to leave Kansas to attend college to follow her music career. She starts high school next year officially but will be taking classes over the summer starting this summer (and every yr there after for high school) so that she can be fully enrolled in Orchestra and Choir year round. She is taking careers this semester and they plot out her next 6 years...4 of high school and her first 2 yrs of college. She is spending time researching colleges on line and really checking out their music programs. We are constantly in shock and awe that we are really here, that she is really growing so quickly and that these are the life decisions that lay before us. It's surreal. She will learn to drive this summer and is super excited about that as well. At this point she hasn't had another seizure since the one in Dec so they think there should be no problem with her driving come her 6 month point. She's a Daddy's girl as well, and he is a bit freaked out by how quickly high school and college are approaching. My dad is in denial that high school begins next yr. LOL. Emily's life revolves around music, but she's found some time to carve out for sleepovers, friends and biking. She's been taking a weight lifting class at school this year and has definitely found a passion in the weight room.
Bob and I ~ Busy as always. Heck just keeping up with the 4 kids keeps us running. We just celebrated 7 yrs on Mar 25th. We can't believe how much time is passing and how quickly it's going. We don't even want to think about 7 yrs from now. Our kids will be so big and we aren't ready.
January brought my 2 yr Neurosurgery anniversary. I went through a whole ton of testing at the end of last year. It brought about a lot of answers and multiple questions. That testing did confirm that the memory and fine motor issues are permanent and there will be no reversing them. In Feb I did take myself off all of my meds and it was the best decision we could have made. I have regained some feeling and it seems that some of the nerve issues were brought on by the meds. We are thankful for that. No matter what we have all just had to learn that we must accept present level and be happy with it. Most of the time we laugh about the "quirks" and compensate when needed.
April 28th is fast approaching. 2 yrs since we lost our beautiful little boy. Everyone has taken the day off and we will spend the day honoring Eli. The kids have already been planning our 2 mile run that day and are looking forward to start gazing on the hill and again finding Eli's star. I can't believe that we are almost at 2 yrs. My heart aches.
We are taking our first big family vacation this summer, all 8 of us. We are leaving on Memorial Day. We are heading to Branson for 5 days. The kids are beyond excited and the more they google the more excited they become. Ariana keeps dancing around the house yelling that we are going on vacation. We have never taken a multi-generational family vacation. My parents and I vacationed on Table Rock Lake and Silver Dollar City many times as I was growing up. This makes it even more exciting to get to take the kids there.
So many others things are happening and going on in our lives but it's simply to much to type it all up. To much time has passed since I blogged last. Many of you follow us on FB so you are more up-to-date on day to day life.
I will do my best at keeping things better updated. It's just been a long dark road to get to where I am at right now and writing wasn't something I was able to do there for quite some time. I'm not for one moment claiming to be out of the darkness, I think after child loss it's simply not possible, but there are flickers of light.
We are feeling some contentment in life.