The Henry Family

Tuesday, August 16, 2011

Celebrating Will!

I have been putting off writing this blog post, for a few weeks and I wasn't really sure why. Then, when I sat down to do it tonight, I found tears welling up in my eyes and it took me a while to realize why.
I don't have very many that read my blog, so it is mostly a simple record of our family's life. For some reason, I feel that it is important to remember the feelings in my heart right now so that I know that this was a true reflection of our life, and not just a sunshiny version. That way, when my children have children of their own and are struggling, I can look back and show them that I know exactly how they feel and that sometimes being a parent can be hard even when it is the most wonderful part of your life.
I love to read the blogs of my friends. They are such a wonderful way to keep up with their families as they grow and change. I love the birthday posts where they list their child's developmental progress and am always so impressed with how advanced they all seem. But, I wish they all knew how hard that is for a mom whose child is often falling behind on all of those milestones their children are so easily achieving. It's not that I am jealous or mad. In fact, I love celebrating the successes of their children. It's just hard not to feel that your child might be questioned or judged and viewed as lacking. I know that what others say and think does not matter, but I think we all have our moments where it still stings and makes you worry about what your child may face in the future or that others might feel that we are not correctly dealing with his issues.

Will turning 4 is especially hard for me with his developmental delays. When he was 3, people didn't seem to really be bothered by the differences much, but now that he is 4, the comments and comparisons have increased. I thought that getting the delays diagnosed and planning for treatment would make all of that easier for me, but it is still really hard. It is hard to go to a playground and watch children much younger than your own do so much more than he can do. It is sad to see him try to climb up something and fail time after time, when everyone else around him is scaling it with ease. All along, I have just gone over and helped him up, but now, he is starting to realize that he should not need my help and seems defeated. He has gotten to where he thinks he can't do things without my help and won't try, even with encouragement. It seems to be less socially acceptable for a boy to not be strong, agile, and daring. He is shy, quiet, and cautious around those he does not know well, and many don't seem to understand that. Many people will say things like, "I'm sure he will grow out of it." and I am confused by that. What if he doesn't? How will you treat him? He has been shy, quiet, and cautious from birth. That is how God made him. Those (and many others) are the traits that make him who he is. Why is that not okay to some?
Those who read this: Please don't think I am having a pity party or am upset or angry. As I said before, I think it is very important to remember these feelings. I want others who may read this to know that I understand what it is like to have a child who struggles.
I am so thankful that we have therapists to help us and a wonderful little boy who makes us proud everyday with the things he learns and can do. I just wanted to explain why this post is somewhat hard for me to write tonight.

Now, I just want to focus on the joy of this day!

This summer, on July 27, we celebrated Will's 4th birthday. We were very excited about this day! I have been studying a few cookie decorating blogs for awhile and decided to take the plunge and attempt some myself. This was the end result, and I was pretty proud!

I even used a few to decorate his cake. Here is the birthday boy admiring his cake!
He specifically asked for chocolate cake with white icing and the birthday boy got just what he asked for:) He really enjoyed it!

So did his sister!
Then it was time to get to his presents. He really did a great job with the unwrapping this year!

He loved the toolbox his Great Grandma and Grandpa Taylor gave him.

Here he is playing with the parking garage from Nana and Pawpaw. His Thomas tent is in the background and is loved as well (even by our dog, Chloe, who uses it like a dog house).

His Granny Henry sent him some money in the mail for his birthday. He was so excited to go to Walmart and pick out a toy. He did such a good job of really looking at all the choices in his price range and choosing the toy he liked best. He even went right up to the cashier, handed her the money, and put the change in his pocket. I think it was so special to him that he was able to get over some of his shyness and do such a grown-up thing! I just love him!
This is the airplane he chose.
It was so wonderful to watch the joy on his face after he saw what each gift was. It does my heart a lot of good to see what a grateful heart he has. That is a trait that is so important to Nathan and I. We never want our children to feel entitled or greedy and that is not an easy feat in our society! I love that he is this excited over a box of matchbox cars from his Nana:)
I tell you, she always knows just what this boy likes:)
Your 3 year old year has been so special and fun. You started it out by getting potty trained and adjusting to a new classroom at school. You are now interacting more with friends at school, especially once you get more comfortable with them. You have such a sweet and kind heart and worry when someone is upset or sad.
You still have a great love for trains and cars. You now also love building with Legos and can make some amazing structures. You are very mechanical and curious about how things work. Maybe you will be an engineer one day!
You have recently showed an interest in coloring even though it is hard for you. You are able to color on the object and have started changing colors to add details. You are also wanting to draw some basic shapes and letters.

You have gotten so tall (forgive me for not having your height handy) and weigh 38 lbs. You mostly wear 4t and 5t clothes. You wear a size 10 shoe. You also passed your milk trial in June and are allowed to have all dairy products now!
You are looking much more grown up, but Mommy is so glad you have kept your sweet dimples. You give the best hugs and kisses and it makes my heart smile when you tell me you love me. You and your sister get along well (most of the time). You miss her when she is at sleepovers and are always so happy to see her when she gets home from school. You are sweet and will play dolls and Barbies with her. In return, she will play Legos and trains with you! You did such a good job of being sweet to our foster babies and I can't wait to see you interact with more:)
You have a mischievous side too! You love to make people laugh. You say some of the funniest things and have an amazing vocabulary. You are such a sponge of information lately. I explain something to you one time and you will remember it and explain it to me when we see or do it again. You are warming up to others faster and love to play at different friend's houses. You also love for people to come play at our house and are good about sharing your toys and snacks:)

I am so thankful to be your Mommy! God knew you were the perfect little boy for our family! I am so thankful for your laid-back personality. You work hard when you need to, but you never forget to just have fun too! I think you will spend a lot of your teenage years telling your mom to stop stressing and just relax:)

I am so excited to see what your 4 year old year holds! I thank God everyday that I am able to stay at home and spend so much more time with you. We will have so many wonderful adventures together this year!
Thank you for being you. I love you more than I can ever say in words!!!!!!
-Love, Mommy

You know you're not a professional blogger when. . .

. . .you have so many pictures like these filling up your hard drive:)
In an effort to keep it real around this blog, I thought I would show some funny pictures made in an attempt to get some cute blog-worthy and picture frame worthy pictures.

I have a nice camera, but I am not the best user of said camera. I also do not like to edit pictures, so what I take, is what you see. Lighting is often an issue for me:)
Easter marked one of the longest photo sessions with my kids yet.
I'm guessing I picked the wrong place here. Sorry kids, I did not intend to blind you with the sun:)

Nathan wanted a more recent picture of Madeline for his new office. I asked her to just relax and be herself. I'm not sure, but I think she misunderstood my directions (or maybe this is just who she is:)

The 4th of July brought yet another example of Will's reluctance. We just tell Madeline to keep smiling and keep clicking to catch Will not looking like he is being tortured. I guess that didn't happen here:)
I actually have started to enjoy these "outtakes." It helps me remember the occasion even better than the perfect smiling pictures. They also really make me laugh!

Spring Catch Up

Here is an update of Spring 2011 in pictures!

Will finished his preschool year with a program of songs about Jesus. Here he is before with his teacher, Miss Serena. Don't let this picture fool you, he loved his teacher this year, he just doesn't really like having his picture taken these days:) She has been such a great teacher for him and has really been helpful in the process of diagnosing his developmental delays. He has learned to say and identify all the letters in the alphabet, counting to 20 and sometimes past, identifying all shapes and colors too! He is also reaching a lot of his P.T. and O.T. goals. We are very proud of his hard work.

Even though Will can be shy, he has always loved performing in his school programs. They sang such cute Christian songs with lots of movements and he did so well! He knew all of the words and motions and was so cute!

Madeline's Sunday school class did a program in which they performed some of the Bible stories they learned this year. Madeline played Mary in the story where Mary visits Elizabeth. Her lines were quite long and I was so impressed with how well she knew them. She did such a great job!
At the end of her kindergarten year, Madeline had a blast at Field Day. I was not able to get pictures of the actual event, as I was with my own class, but she had the best time and can't wait to do it again next year!
Then, it was time for Kindergarten Graduation. Here is Madeline with her wonderful teacher, Mrs. Ponder. She has been such a great teacher for Madeline. My little girl amazes me with how much she has learned and how much she truly loves school! She had straight A's all year and has even qualified for the Gifted Program for 1st grade! We are so proud of her!

The Kindergartners did a cute program all about Arkansas. They each had a line and memorized many songs. As a Kindergarten teacher at this school, I can assure you that it took a lot of practice and hard work and it was so good!
Madeline received her diploma. . .
and celebrated with her friends afterward:)

We had such a fun a busy Spring! Nathan and I both wrapped up our last year as classroom teachers as well. Nathan was offered the Instructional Technology Director position for our school district, which came with a salary increase that now allows me to finally stay at home! I am so excited:) I don't know how long we will be able to do it, but feel blessed by any time I can enjoy at home. We plan to reevaluate our finances at the end of each school year to decide my working status one year at a time.