Sunday, January 2, 2011

Here's to Enjoying the Simple Things in 2011

Adios 2010! Sayonara. or as Jonah would say (tries to say) See ya later alligator, after while crocodile!

I am breathing a sigh of relief that 2010 is over. It's over, we have regrouped, and are ready to face 2011 and whatever it might throw at us. I am thankful for every minute I am given on this green and blue rock hurtling around the sun, but let's face it: 2010 was pretty crappy for my family. There were wonderful, amazing, life changing moments as well though. So I wanted to take a moment to look at what 2010 did for my family. I think it's important to reflect on all of the things that have happened in the past year- to smile at the happy moments, and learn from the not-so-happy moments.

We began our new year with a sneak peek of the little person who would be joining our family. We found out that she was a very healthy little bean. It felt more "real" that we were going to soon be a family of four. We tentatively named her Evelyn Clare on the way home from the ultrasound.

Soon Jonah and I ventured to a place we had never visited before- Arizona. It was a nice escape from the snow and cold weather of Ohio.
A few weeks later, we took a rather chilly vacation to Florida. Although it was too cold to swim in the ocean, I felt very much at home and relaxed on the beach. It was warmer here in Ohio that week than it was in Florida, but we still had a wonderful family vacation, and on the last day of our stay it finally warmed up enough to take a dip in the pool! I was really grateful for the chance to visit my grandparents, and Jonah finally began to walk for sustained distances on this trip as well!

Around this time, we enrolled Jonah in the county's Early Intervention program for infants and toddlers who are showing cognitive and physical delays. We started seeing a speech, occupational, and physical therapist, and in late march we began the arduous process of Jonah's casts. As awful as this seemed at the time, I can thankfully say that this was the best thing we ever did for our son. He began walking full-time. Walking, running, jumping. With his feet seemingly "fixed" he began talking and problem solving. Once we got the casts and orthopedics figured out, he was a completely different child.

As the weather warmed, so did our anticipation of baby Evelyn. Spring began to close onto summer, and along with this anticipation of the new baby came anxiety over Jonah's still lagging development. He was diagnosed with Autism and given several bloodtests to shed further light on what might be causing all of his health and development issues.

Just weeks later, we multiplied the love in our house. Little Evelyn Clare was born at home on June 5th, my mother's birthday. We welcomed a healthy little girl into our hearts and family.

One of the "milestones" that parents often look forward to is baby's first visit to the doctor. This visit tells them that baby is healthy, everything is working, and everyone is healthy. Evie's first visit to Dr. T did set our minds at ease about our little girl. She was completely perfect, and one hundred and one percent in good health. However, the doctor had just received Jonah's results from the blood tests, and they showed that he is missing about 40 genes on his 22nd chromosome.
It is a genetic syndrome called 22q Deletion, and can cause many health problems and cognitive delays. While this was a scary diagnosis, because it is so finite and absolute, it also was a relief. Suddenly everything fit. Everything was explained.

And we started the maze of doctors. I'm glad that we are able to keep an eye on systems and symptoms that commonly pop up with 22q, but we have been exhausted with exams, doctor's visits, road trips to clinics, and tests. We have decided that Evelyn, although she is perfectly healthy and shows no signs of having the genetic deletion, is most likely going to be our last child. Which is an extremely difficult pill for me to swallow

In the last weeks of August, Daryl lost his job. This was scary for me in the moment. But now I realize that it allowed us to move on and get to the next step in our lives. We had enough saved that Daryl was able to stay home with me, Jonah, and the new baby. Our family bonded.

We enjoyed this time, but we knew we had to do something for money before our savings ran out. Daryl found a job in Cleveland. Our family that had grown so close, was separated. We celebrated Jonah's second birthday, and Daryl was able to come back to Toledo for the party.

This was really hard for me, and for the kids. But in the meantime, I learned to make time for myself. A special way to clear my head. I picked back up an old hobby of mine- running. I ran my first 5k race just a couple weeks before we moved the entire family back to Cleveland. It was the annual Komen's Race For the Cure Although I had to walk about a quarter of the race, this was a huge accomplishment for me, and a proud moment in 2010. I reached my sponsorship goal of raising $200 for the cause, and just last week I reached my goal of being able to run 5K in a half hour.
The same weekend as the race, we looked at a house for rent. We were enamored almost immediately with the quaint house sitting on two acres of pine tree speckled land. It seemed to have everything we needed, everything we dreamed of having in a home.

The rest of the year has remained somewhat uneventful, which we are dearly thankful for. We moved into the house, continued with Jonah's doctor's appointments and therapies. Evelyn has been growing, learning and thriving. And Daryl and I continue to support eachother in this crazy partnership called parenthood.

We are hoping that 2011 remains as uneventful as the last couple months of 2010. We are looking forward to starting to home school Jonah with a preschool curriculum this year, even if it is only part time while he goes to a specialized or co-op preschool part time. We are looking forward to seeing Evie walk, hearing her say her first words, and her first birthday party. We are looking forward to trips to the zoo, planting our garden, and playing basketball in our driveway. We are looking forward to enjoying the simple things. Cheers to 2011.

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