Saturday, August 22, 2009

Friday, August 21, 2009

Coming Soon-Our 2nd Hydrocephalus Walk!

Hello friends and family! We are all really looking forward to participating in the Walk this year on September 7th and raising funds for the research towards better treatments for hydrocephalus. This is our 2nd year participating in the walk and we are hoping to raise even more money for the cause! In case you aren't aware, here is a bit of Cara's story:

Cara was diagnosed with hydrocephalus in August of 2007. She had her VP shunt placed that same month, just one month after her 1st birthday, on August 17, 2007. Since then, we have been very fortunate in that Cara has not had any shunt related issues at all. She is soon to celebrate her 2nd anniversary with this shunt! Cara is doing wonderfully, thanks to the help of some talented therapists, and has started preschool on an IEP. She will be receiving PT, OT, Speech, vision and adaptive learning assistance in the classroom. She has had a great couple of days so far and we are hoping that the positive peer pressure and socialization will be just want Cara needs to continue to make progress.

With your help, we would like to raise awareness and funds for Hydrocephalus. One out of every 1,000 babies born in the United States will have hydrocephalus, yet, it is one of the most under-funded conditions out there. Funds are needed to advance research and explore new treatment options. So, please, won't you pledge your support not only of our family & Cara but for the Hydrocephalus Association? Whatever you can give would be so wonderful! You can donate by clicking here and pledging your support through a secure website. All of your donations are tax deductible!

Thanks again for thinking of us! Many blessings to you & yours!

Laura, Ben, Caitlin & Cara

Tuesday, August 18, 2009

All it takes is ONE blink!

I woke up this morning and realized, my baby will be going to preschool! I will not have any children home for a few hours for the first time in years! What a change. I swear, it was just a blink ago that Cara was just a tiny 6lb, 6oz baby girl that we brought home from the hospital and now she's a confident preschooler!

We visited her classroom yesterday, met her teacher, Mrs. R, the classroom aide and the therapists that will be working with Cara. Cara made herself at home playing with the toys (purses & dolls were a big hit) while I discussed Cara's IEP with her teachers & other caregivers. I got a really good vibe from her teacher and the therapists and have a good feeling that Cara's needs will be met.

Cara has been so excited to go to school for weeks now, ever since Caitlin started a few weeks ago. Last night, when we were packing her bag with diapers, wipes and a sippy cup, she wanted to carry it around the house like a big girl and would jump up and down when we asked her if she was excited to start school.

This morning, we got to her school early, so Cara played and socialized a bit with the other children on the playground while we waited for her teacher to come out and welcome the class in. There are 16 children in her class with 1 teacher, 2 aides and therapists who visit on a rotating schedule. 7 of the children have special needs, like Cara, while the others are part of the Colorado Preschool Program, so a good mix.

Her teacher welcomed us all into the classroom where the first tasks where to sign in, find their name on a yellow hand print, put it on the felt board, hang up their backpacks, wash their hands and then find a book to look at. We helped Cara through this routine (which happens every day) and then went to say good-bye. She clung to Ben & I, like we knew that she would, but we were determined to make our exit as quickly and as calmly as we could. We hugged her, kissed her and said that we would see her soon and left the classroom. She cried but her seasoned teacher was already at work distracting and calming her.

Ben & I went out to the parking lot and cried. We just cannot believe that Cara is old enough for preschool or that we made it to this point. Those that know Cara's history understand how big this milestone is! We are so proud of our little girl for the progress that she's made and hope that she continues to surprise us!

At pick up, Cara was happy to see me and ran right for me as soon as I came into the room. One of the aides reported that she had a good day and only cried for a few minutes after we left. She was using some of her sign language (I think we are going to have to teach the staff) and enjoyed the activities. She received a smiley face stamp on her hand for doing very well on her first day. As we were walking out of school, I asked Cara if she liked various things, if she did various activities and every question got a very enthusiastic response. Judging by that and the big smile on her face, I'm concluding that she had a great 1st day! She even wants to go back tomorrow. We came home, had a quick lunch and now Cara is down for a nap, probably very tired from her busy day!

I am so glad that she's in preschool, for I know how great it will be for Cara, in so many ways. Just why must children grow up so quickly?! Don't blink or it will happen to you too.

Enjoy some pictures of Cara's first day or preschool---

Thursday, August 13, 2009

We have an official 1st Grader in the house!

Caitlin had a great first day of 1st grade on August 5th (yes, I slacked in posting this)! She really liked her teacher and was happy to discover that because the classes are set up as "villages" and they try to keep "villages" intact every year, a lot of her classmates from Kindergarten were also in her class this year. She reported that she liked eating lunch at school and having recess. I have a feeling that we are going to have to keep her challenged at home for the first couple of weeks as her teacher is going to be reviewing the basics to get a feel for where everyone is before assigning students to different learning groups. I have already purchased a math workbook (her favorite subject) and am planning to buy a Brain Quest workbook too, just to provide her brain with some extra stimulation while everything gets sorted out. Caitlin is learning early the realities of friendships as her best friend from last year isn't sticking by her side this year. Thankfully, she had found some new friends and seems to be adjusting well socially. She will be starting Girl Scouts next week as well as gymnastics so, once again, our after school schedule will be full! I cannot wait to see how Caitlin progresses as the year goes on!

Sunday, August 02, 2009

A Glance Back & A Tribute to Caitlin

Caitlin, words can not begin to describe how much you mean to Daddy & I. When you were born, 6 years ago, a new chapter of our lives began. We began parents for the first time and we were so excited to welcome you, our firstborn, into the family! Over the years, we have elated in your milestones and watched you go from a cuddly baby to a very confident and smart little girl.

Last year, you started down the path of your educational future. You looked so confident and excited to start Kindergarten and came home beaming and with a wonderful report of your first day. You just totally blossomed, both academically and socially.

Since then, you have:
-discovered a love for reading,math and gym
-made several great friends
-participated in a dance class & recital
-impressed your teacher with your knowledge and maturity
-managed to learn a lot of sign language to aid in communicating with your sister
-played baseball
-mastered riding a two-wheeler sans training wheels
-gotten completely over your fear of the water (and even went down a big water slide)

-become a Junior National Park Ranger just like your uncles
-graduated from Kindergarten with pomp & circumstance
-lost your first 2 teeth on the same day
-grown like a weed
-actively participated in the election of President Obama
-and asserted your independence and opinions, as always!

You are such of a bright and energetic girl, never afraid to speak your mind (Daddy's right, you should be a lawyer as your defenses and debates are so convincing that sometimes, it's hard to punish you!) and always curious to discover new things. You've asked us questions that have led mommy & daddy to ponder and search for answers. We love your curiosity, your imagination and your sweetness. Such qualities make for a wonderful little girl.

Now, you are about to embark on another major milestone, attending school for a full day! While I will miss having you around the house, I know that you will just absorb all of the extra learning and fun that you will have at school. Daddy & I just know that your education is in good hands with your teacher this year, and are confident that you will be challenged. At Back-to-School night, you where joyous to meet up with your good friends Amaya & Isabella, ran to find your beloved Kindergarten teacher, Ms. Brock and were just excited to be among the familiarity of school. See, you are going to do just fine!

It's so hard, yet so wonderful, to believe that you've been in our lives for 6 years! You are truly a blessing and a joy! We hope you know how much we love you and how much we look forward to being a part of your ever-changing world for years to come.

We love you Princess!

Mommy & Dadd


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