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 :)