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