Tuesday, October 8, 2013

Fall 2013

It seems that my blog has been overtaken my spam comments, I guess that's what happens when you don't blog for over a year.  However, I'm feeling sentimental tonight and just finished an assignment for Carsten's teacher where I had to write summaries on how I felt about all of his past assessments.  I guess I actually enjoyed doing it and it made me miss my blog writing a little bit, so here I am.  
I'm pretty sure there aren't any followers here anymore so I can probably just write whatever without fear that it will be proofread.  Our little family is still a family of four, actually, the kids are asking daily to make it 4 plus a furry brother or sister but we are still working on daddy for that one.  
We are in our fourth year in Northern Virginia, I am in love with the weather here and excited we are approaching my favorite season of cool crisp air, yoga pants, and warm comfy foods.  I actually made rice pudding tonight, I've never made it before and guess I just assumed I didn't like it.  I was pleasantly surprised and now have a new favorite dessert.  Many things about Northern Virginia have pleasantly surprised me.  Like the people, the friends, the sense of community, the restaurants, the things to do, the schools, it just feels like home now.  It's funny how you go "home" to visit and then you can't wait to get back "home."  Our fall schedule is a little crazy this year.  Both kids are in school, Chloe is in a 3 day a week preschool at a local anglican church.  Chad and I are so happy with the school and Chloe is loving it.  Chloe is turning out to be extremely strong willed and quite the sassy little thing.  She could pretend play for 24 hours straight without a bathroom break.  She can be a sweet sister, but she can also be quite dominating over Carsten.  It has been hard because Carsten does not defend himself very well so Chloe pretty much ends up with what she wants if I'm not within eyes reach.  She is very outgoing and has a passionate spirit about everything she does so I am learning how to discipline her but also let her feel independent and encourage good decision making.  I never imagined how hard it could be to raise a "typical" child but it definitely is not a cake walk and I need so much daily wisdom it's crazy.  

Carsten transferred to a new school this year to repeat kindergarten.  Last year was a difficult year for him, though I'm still trying to figure out if it was more difficult for him or his teachers.  Either way, it wasn't a good fit so he is now at a school about 5 miles from our house.  He takes the bus in the morning and I pick him up in the afternoon.  He is in a self-contained classroom for most of the day and in the general education kindergarten class about 2 hours a day.  The combination seems to be a working for him, he is so happy, he loves his teacher and he loves his school, and the best part is that they love him too!  We are still working on potty training unfortunately.  He has made progress but the independence part has been slow.  Carsten is turning out to really love drama, it's funny but I think it all started with Gabba Gabba and his sunday school.  Every week at God's Big Backyard they have a stage with worship time and Carsten is just beside himself excited, sometimes they have to restrain him from going up on the stage it's so bad.  So I'm not sure how that is going to work in the long run but I can almost guarantee that he will somehow be on a stage.  His communication is coming along.  He has 1-2 word phrases and needs the iPad for anything longer.  He seems to understand so much but the output just isn't there because of his speech apraxia.  We may be looking at an assistive device long term for him but at this point still want to encourage the speech production and sentence formation.  He is definitely not considered "conversational" but I am just thankful at this point that he can get his basic needs and wants across to me verbally.  We have had him evaluated for a dual diagnosis of autism and the specialist isn't convinced we are looking at that yet but we will continue to have him reassessed.  Carsten is full of joy and loves his family and friends.  He definitely wants to be independent and wants his freedom, it's hard to be lenient with boundaries because if you give him an inch he will always take a mile, literally.  Speaking of, he took almost a mile last week when he ran off at recess.  The school didn't see him escape and by the time they ran in to tell the principal the police officers had already gotten him.  Apparently he ran off to see some dogs in a yard and the home owner called the police thankfully.  This is the third time he has gotten away from us, first time at school.  I was upset but by the time the principal called he was already returned safely.  As I reflected on this event feeling anxious and fearful as any mom would, I remembered a verse we had talked about in my bible study last week.  It was Matthew 18:10 "For I tell you that in heaven their (little ones) angels always see the face of my Father in heaven."  It's so comforting to know that even when I am not watching him he has an angel that is directly in front of the Father interceding on his behalf.  How would I cope otherwise, worry would overtake me, but this verse has been quite an assurance.  

I debated working part time this year.  It was funny, I received an email from an prospective employer the same day I received an email from the children's ministry director at our church asking me to lead the 4's class this year.  I was pretty conflicted at first because I have been so anxious to get back to OT and start helping other families out there with all my newfound expertise (sarcasm, I probably wouldn't even remember how to evaluate someone), I even had my licensure application all in.  But when I prayed about teaching the 4's, I felt a peace and the Lord gave me a picture of Peter walking out on the water to Jesus, God was gently saying "step out in faith Kari."  So, I am in my fifth week of teaching a big group of 4 year olds about Jesus on Saturday nights.  Last week, there were a few glitches and I was feeling a little discouraged then I realized that all the children were praying out loud while I was praying with them, what a neat experience that was.  Last Saturday I got my first few hugs from some of the girls.  Trust is building, it has been such a joy and I leave feeling so fulfilled.  I am also realizing how many people serve within the church and the kinds of sacrifices Gods people make every week that I never really understood until now.  I am slowly learning to serve and it's very exciting!  I must mention that Chad is serving along with me since he watches the kids so I can have the opportunity to do this so I am very thankful and appreciative of that.  That said, I soon realized there was no way on earth that I could have worked a part time job with Chloe's limited preschool hours and all the other demands of both children.  We learned an acronym today at bible study for BUSY, it is "being under satan's yoke."  I can definitely relate to that this year and I'm thankful that I didn't get pulled even more into a yoke I couldn't carry, it is just enough as it is and the time will come soon enough when I can put my scrubs back on, unless I end up homeschooling Cman, but that's another blog.

Chad is doing fantastic.  He is running in the Marine Corpse Marathon in a couple of weeks.  His work is going well and he made the promotion list to lieutenant colonel this year.  I am so proud of him and all his hard work and sacrifices.  Right now I am trying to figure out a) what to wear to his promotion ceremony and b) how to handle a 3 year old and a 6 year old at his promotion ceremony.  We are hopeful that we will get to transfer back to Arkansas next summer for a couple of years.  It will be so strange living within an hour of help from our families but I'm sure I'll find way to get used to it:)  Though I can't bare to think about leaving all my friends here so I'm just not thinking about it right now.  Every prior move I have stressed and obsessed over where we will live and all the details of the move for months before the move even happened.  I feel that the Lord has finally freed me from some of that and I am choosing to trust him this time and wait on Him and His timing for all the details.  So many lessons to learn being a military wife. 

So life is going good, but don't let this blog deceive you, it is not all roses and cherries here at the Bridges house.  I am not the stay at home starbucks mom that I wanted to be (mainly because there is no drive throughs around here).  Just getting the kids ready for school about does me in.  The repetitive meal demands, the trash, the whining and crying, the tantrums, the toiling, the behavioral problems and sensory issues, the lingering feeding issues, and the doctor appointments are enough to send me to bed early every night with a headache.  But the Lord has been faithful and is drawing me into a new season of fellowship with Him.  We are so stinking blessed here with such an amazing community of people, I really am thankful for this place and this season of my life and am excited to be spending another year here.  Hopefully I'll have time to blog more this year, I think I said that last year too :) 



Thursday, January 3, 2013

IMG_0009, originally uploaded by chad.bridges.

Being their silly selves

IMG_8300, originally uploaded by chad.bridges.

Best friends

IMG_8168, originally uploaded by chad.bridges.

Buddy Walk 2012!

IMG_8976, originally uploaded by chad.bridges.

Another reason why I didn't get Christmas cards out this year.

IMG_9266, originally uploaded by chad.bridges.

Sesame Street show

IMG_9995, originally uploaded by chad.bridges.


IMG_9468, originally uploaded by chad.bridges.

Christmas service

2012 update...

     I thought I should probably update our blog since it's been almost a year since my last update, also I'm hoping it will make me feel better since I didn't get Christmas cards out this year.  I just have a few minutes before I pick Cman up from school so I will try to do a quick Bridges Bunch update.
We have finally settled into a home here in Fairfax VA that we purchased last summer.  We moved in last July and then went to Arkansas/Dallas for a two week visit.  Carsten started Kindergarten this year in our neighborhood school called Little Run Elementary.  It only has about 200 kids so it is small compared to most of the schools around here, but a hidden gem for sure.  I feel so blessed that the Lord planted us where He had in mind instead of where I had in mind.  I fought for about five months trying to find a house in our previous district in Burke and literally with hundreds of homes for sale the Lord closed every door every time (having a picky husband I'm sure helped too ;)  So, we ended up moving about 3 miles away but in the next town over called Fairfax.  We have great neighbors and I am still close to two of my best friends here.

     Carsten finished up his first semester at Little Run and we had our first IEP (individual education plan) before Christmas break.  Transitioning to Kindergarten has been hard for him but I am so proud of how he has adapted and grown.  He is really being stretched but it has been so good for him.  He was blessed to have a very small kindergarten class of 17 kids that have "adopted" him so to speak and taken him under their wings.  The school hasn't had a child with Down Syndrome in a long time so it is new territory for them.  It warms my heart though to see sixth graders walk up to him, give him a big high five, and tell him bye after school.  It is a really neat community.  That said, the team has decided at our last IEP meeting that he needs some more time to grow and increase his communication skills and maturity.  So, starting today actually, he is going to kindergarten in the morning and then he will go to the afternoon special needs preschool at the same school.  We are actually very blessed to have this option at our home school.  I am very excited about the new schedule and I think it will push him just enough but give him time in a smaller class in the afternoon to work more on pre-academic skills and communication.  Carsten is pretty much time trained with the potty but shows little initiation with his needs, though it is emerging a little lately.  He is talking up a storm, eating great (we removed his tube on Thanksgiving day, yay!!!!!!) and such a determined little guy.

     Chloe finished her first semester as the "role model" in the morning preschool program at our home school as well.  She is in a class with about 6 other kids with developmental delays as the community child.  She seems to really enjoy "school" and loves all the kids.  She greets them and the teachers in the hall when I drop her off twice a week.  It's been a neat opportunity and I know the Lord is using it to plant seeds of compassion in her even at this early age.  We are thinking of starting her in gymnastics after her third birthday which is February 11th.  She asks for "gymnastics" all the time and she seems to be really interested in it so we'll see where she goes with that.  Her and Carsten have a blast together at home and we finally have a fenced in yard that has been such a tremendous blessing (especially with our little eloper who has gotten away twice now in the past year).  Mimi and Papo got them a trampoline for Christmas so they've been having quite a time on it.  They also enjoyed seeing their Nana, Aunt Nae, and Uncle Boo (Chad's family) over Christmas. 

     Chad is finishing up his second assignment at the National Guard Bureau and about to start a third one in February.  I am thrilled to be here for our third year and we are really feeling settled in.  We love our church Fairfax Community Church and Carsten moved up to the kindergarten class where they have "God's Big Backyard" with worship time and a stage, he absolutely loves it.  Every week when we pick him up he sneaks back up to the stage to act out the singing and dancing.  He seems to have a developing affinity towards stages, I'm not sure but I think it all started with the Yo Gabba Gabba show.  We have tickets to see them here in February.
     As for me, I am busy with the kids and the house, just keeping everything afloat day to day with lots of different ideas on things I want to do and no time to do it.  I did run my first half marathon last April and then the Army ten miler with Chad in October.  I still wouldn't consider myself a "runner" but it has been rewarding following through with my goals.  My latest obsession is wanting to start a salad dressing business.  I have such good intentions but bad follow through.  I'm keeping my Arkansas OT license current and waiting to put that back to use someday hopefully when it's right.  
I have a growing passion to work with families of preschoolers with feeding needs and developmental delays as well as possibly working within the school system on inclusion issues.  All these things I want to do and feel equipped for, yet I have this sweet little boy and girl that come home everyday and need me to focus on them instead.  So I wait. 
We miss everyone in Arkansas and hope to be closer one day.  We are grateful for how the Lord has provided for us here with friends and community, many of them from Arkansas. We are thankful that we didn't have to face a deployment last year and it seems that by grace Afghanistan has passed us by for now.
     I will try to post some updated pics.

Blessings from the Bridges