Friday, November 25, 2011

Happy Thanksgiving!

I just read this wonderful Thanksgiving message from Governor Palin and couldn't resist sharing.
Hope you enjoy!

Friday, November 18, 2011

Eat Carsten Eat!

This post comes with very fresh tears.  I am thinking back to our very first days with Carsten and his eating problems that began to surface soon after he was born.  I remember even a post that Chad wrote in the NICU about trying to get him to take his bottle, I think he titled it Eat, Carsten Eat!  Well, here we are FOUR long years later and we are still saying it, but now we are saying with even more expectancy and hope than ever!  Our God is good people, for today Carsten ate a whole hot dog before school.  I can't even write that sentence without sobbing.  The emotions, the memory, the pain, the tears, the vomiting, the tube feeding, the prayers, the hopes, the waiting are all so raw and so fresh in my mind.  Carsten truly is a miracle and our God truly is the Miracle Maker.  He has brought us so far.  He has brought us through this fiery trial of feeding and we are finally seeing some victory.

I began to wonder last fall if God was going to work in this area this year.  Our first service at our church here in Fairfax was called "Hold on".  One of the worship leaders had written a new album and she sang this song and then the lesson from the pastor was all about "holding on."  I felt in my spirit the Lord was referring to Carsten's eating as my "hold on" signal.  Later on last year I read a book by Leslie Parrott called "The First Drop of Rain."  (I highly recommend this book, it was funny because it is all about spiritual paradigms related to rain and while I was reading it it was raining everyday:)
In the book she happened to talk about her little boy that had a feeding tube and feeding troubles like us.  Eventually the boy overcame them after a very long and hard journey.  I wondered if the Lord was speaking to me also saying that we would get through this too.

Now here we are today and Carsten just ate a whole meal with no pureed food.  He had a hot dog, piece of toast, some banana, and blueberries.  We have discovered that he likes ketchup and barbecue sauce.  It was so funny because he was eating his hot dog pieces after dipping them in ketchup with a fork.  So I thought, let's try banana with a fork.  Lo and behold, he ate the banana pieces after dipping them in ketchup!  Ok, I said, I don't care what you dip in ketchup as long as you eat it, AMEN?!  So for now, Carsten's repertoire is chicken nuggets, hot dogs, french fries, and toast.  He can eat all kinds of "snacky" things as long as they are contained to one bite that he can put on the side of his mouth, like a teddy graham.  It was funny because we went on a little family getaway last weekend and this is where Carsten started eating (and liking) chicken nuggets.  He started eating cheerios on our summer trip back in July.  So I told Chad I guess we're just going to have to go on family trips all the time to get him to eat more ;)))

This all started to speed up a few weeks ago and he has been slowly gaining momentum with eating.  Now I feel if we can add to his variety and textures we will be getting closer, so close I can taste it!  Last week after church I was able to say in faith that Carsten will eat lunch at Kindergarden next year, oh wow, more tears.  Again, God is good.  God is good even if Carsten never ate, or never eats, He is good all the time.  But His Goodness in the "goodness" is oh so much sweeter.

Leslie Parrott couldn't have summed it better:

"Every time I see John take a bite of salmon, or spinach, or even lick an ice cream cone, I marvel.  It's a miracle.  Two miracles, really.  We all survived the drought and, somehow, John adapted.
In the desert, after a rainfall, color explodes everywhere.  Flowers bloom overnight in response to rain.  They last for only a short time, but they make an appearance.  They celebrate.
So do I.  Grace before a meal is less a ritual than a time of true celebration.  "Give us this day our daily bread."  And thank you, REALLY, for the ability to eat it."

Saturday, November 12, 2011

Carsten using the Proloquo2go

Here is a link to the video of Carsten using Proloquo2go at school.  This is the one that was submitted to the Congressman to petition for iPads in the Virginia school system.  

Carsten on Capitol Hill?!

Carsten is well into his first semester at Kings Park Elementary school in the preschool special needs program. We LOVE Mrs. Melissa his teacher and his class is full of boys, Carsten loves older boys. Carsten rides the bus to and from and goes Tuesday through Friday from 12-4. The teachers realized early on how much Carsten could understand and demonstrated a large sign vocabulary when prompted but his classmates struggled to communicate since sign language isn't universal. So they wanted to try something else with him and suggested an application on the iPad called proloquo2go. Within the first day of using this application at school Carsten was using 4 word sentences to express his needs and wants. He was able to tell the teachers what he wanted to play with, what he wanted to eat, (yes eat, that is another post!) and talk to his friends through proloquo. Well word kind of got around how he was thriving with it and other teachers began asking about Carsten and how they could get iPads for their classrooms. Mrs. Melissa's husband happens to work in Congress as a graphic designer. So she began taking videos of Carsten using the proloquo2go and put together a small paper on him and research articles to support proloquo2go. Her husband then created a finished video of Carsten using it in different settings and the whole thing has been submitted to Congressman Connelly of Virginia. They are using Carsten's success to petition for iPad distribution in the Virginia school systems. It is pretty neat how the whole thing happened and Chad and I are excited to see if it will be presented in Congress. Mrs. Melissa is keeping us updated so we can go to the open session if they play Carstens video. I will try to put a copy of the video here on the blog, and I will keep you updated on what happens. Either way, we are so proud of him and are blown away by the school systems and Mrs Melissa his wonderful teacher, they really not only see his potential but try to help him reach it as well. Go Carsten!!