I haven’t had much time for blogging this year, which makes me a little sad. I’m hoping to fill in some gaps, now that life is settling back to a routine again. For now, here’s just a glimpse of all that we’ve been up to.
We kicked off the new year with our extended family. Between illnesses and job schedules, it worked out to be best to celebrate Christmas together on New Years Day. It was a bit chaotic, in true Re family form, but awesome and fun, as always.
My Gram with all her grandkids and great grandson
Of course, it’s not the new year without some poppers to celebrate. Isaiah loves doing them, then using the streamers as “hair”.
And then, of course, there was that day where Isaiah duplicated himself a few times and my living room was full of copies of him. Ok, I admit, it was photoshop, but still. We had tons of fun playing together and creating the image and he still loves it.
So many Isaiahs!
And, last but not least, at the end of the month, my sweet little boy turned 4. He was so excited and proud of being a “big boy”!
Enjoying his cake
February was pretty uneventful. Isaiah enjoyed hanging out, playing with his new stuff from Christmas and his birthday. He learned to shovel snow (much to his delight) and made some time, on warmer days, to visit his equine friends with treats.
Treats for Babe
We made our first trip of the year to the zoo, where Isaiah got to see a worker feeding the penguins and fell in love with one of the little penguin figures along the wall.
It’s so cute!
March was a sad month for our family. We said goodbye to a sweet, four-legged friend. Gracie died, at 17 years old. She continues to be missed and Isaiah talks about her often.
My dad and Isaiah with Gracie
Isaiah learned how to climb a tree, which gave him great delight. Every time we went outside, he wanted to climb it, just because he knew he could. Then, just in case he wasn’t rambunctious enough, I taught him how to jump in puddles. I’m not sure he’ll ever have dry clothes after it rains again.
In a tree
Isaiah desperately wanted to learn to ice skate, so we went to the rink to give it a try. Unfortunately, it was insanely crowded and loud, so he was too overwhelmed to really enjoy it much. He wants to try again when he’s bigger. Maybe we can find a quieter location next time.
First time ice skating
Isaiah started learning some sign language and already knew a number of signs by April. He was proud to show off a few of them for the camera. Now, he wants to learn to sign some songs.
”I love you”
This photo was specifically requested by Isaiah. He’d been blowing kisses constantly and wanted a photo of it. Blowing kisses is a bit of a game for us, with the kisses bouncing around the room on their way to their intended recipient. It’s lots of fun and always brings lots of laughter to all involved.
We began the process of preparing to move this month. We’d talked about it before, but decided it was time to get serious about it. This meant lots of sorting things (deciding what was worth actually moving and what should go), along with starting to watch for listings in the area we hoped to move to. There are no pictures for this, though, since that would just be a shot of boxes.
April also brought Easter. Isaiah posed for some adorable pictures with his stuffed bunny. Of course, we had to have an egg hunt. We had a nice warm day for Easter, which we were all quite thankful for. That meant that I could hide the eggs outside, while Isaiah played inside with my dad. Then it was time for the hunt, which brought with it laughter and excitement.
The biggest event of our month, though, came at the very end. Finally, after literally years of waiting, my cousins were officially adopted into our family. They’ve been a part of our family for many years, but it was so wonderful to finally have it be official. And they’re so glad to finally be signing our family’s name, after so long.
Adopted! Brody, Anya, and Aimee with the judge and their dad
Our crab apple tree came into bloom in May. Knowing this was probably my last spring in this house, I made sure to take lots of pictures of the pink blossoms. I’ve tried for years to get nice photos, but this is the first time I had both the skill and appropriate gear to truly pull it off.
Crab apple blossoms
Isaiah got his first tattoo. Well, sort of. It was of the temporary variety, but he was still pretty excited. He wanted some pictures to show the world how cool he was. I have to admit, he was certainly adorable.
I graduated from college in May. I worked hard and graduated a member of the national honor society with a 4.0. My parents, Isaiah, Chay, Luke, and my favorite teachers were all there to celebrate with me. I’m grateful for the support I had from my friends and family and for the amazing teachers who came into my life. I never would have passed algebra or biology without the teachers I had. They were patient and excellent at teaching their material in a way that could be understood. Not to mention always being available to answer questions when I just did not understand.
Isaiah in my cap
Me with one of my teachers, just before the graduation started
Most of June was spent trying to pack and prepare Isaiah for the biggest change in his short life. We’d put a bid in on a house, so it was just a matter of time before we’d be moving into it.
We did break away from the packing and busyness long enough to hit the zoo and see their brand new sting ray exhibit. It was tons of fun to get to pet the rays and they were super friendly, coming up to touch people’s hands as they swam around the tank. I’d been to a similar place years before, but this was the first time Isaiah had ever had the opportunity to touch a ray, so he was pretty thrilled.
”I touched one!”
We closed on the new house at the end of the month. Since it wasn’t too far between the old house and the new one, we started the process of moving belongings immediately. Isaiah wanted to start sleeping in the new house the very first day and couldn’t wait to settle in.
Bringing in the very first box
We celebrated the 4th of July and had fun watching the local fireworks display. Isaiah posed for a quick picture in the afternoon.
July was mostly spent moving and getting things settled. Isaiah fell in love with the new space immediately, though there were some tears over the thought of never seeing the old house again.
The youngest workers on our moving crew
My Uncle Gary (my dad’s brother) got married in July. It was a small wedding and it poured during the ceremony, but it was fun, all the same. It was nice to see family members we don’t see very often.
Uncle Gary and his new wife, Jen
Of course, I shot the rodeo again, as I have every year, since I was a teenager. It was lots of fun, as always, and I got plenty of great photos.
A bull rider
Our new town hosts the county’s fair, so it was close enough for us to visit several times. Isaiah loved being able to hang out there. He rode the rides several times, as well as enjoying all the free activities they had going on during the week.
Kiddie roller coaster
DJ moved to a new apartment, where he’d be closer to our extended family. I don’t have pictures of his move, but he was excited to be closer and start at a new location with his job (same job, different facility).
I got to go with a couple of friends to LifeLight this year. I’ve wanted to go for years, but never had the opportunity. This year, I had friends who wanted to go, so I was able to ride with them. To make it even better, one of the artists performing the day we attended was Michael W. Smith. I had so much fun hanging out with friends and seeing a concert I thought I’d only ever dream of. Hopefully, we’ll go again next year.
Me (center) with my friends
Michael W. Smith
Isaiah started AWANA at our new church in September. He adores his teacher and classmates. He works hard to learn his verses and do the activities at home.
Showing off his cool new vest
Isaiah learned to play hop scotch. He was so thrilled to finally be able to do it that he never wanted to stop. He repeats the pattern, even without the squares, inside, just because he can.
My Uncle Landon and his kids moved this month. They’re now closer to where we live, so we’re able to spend more time together. It also means that we can attend their school activities sometimes, which is awesome. This month, Aimee had a homecoming parade that she asked us to come to.
With October, comes the pumpkin patch. Isaiah loved it so much last year that we got a season pass this time. This one is only open on weekends, but we made sure to spend at least one day there each week. Most weeks we were there for two days. Isaiah would like to live there, if he could.
Greeting cousins when they got to the pumpkin patch
I attended an autism conference with Temple Grandin and a couple other speakers. It was pretty cool to get to meet her. I bought a couple of books and she signed them for me, then posed for a quick picture. The lectures were amazing, too, so I’m really glad that I went.
Me with Temple Grandin
Fall finally arrived in November, so we started having fun with all the bright colored leaves in our new yard. We spent days raking the two million and one leaves, then were so grateful that a neighbor offered to let us put them in his trailer, instead of trying to bag them and take a few hundred bags to the dump (would have been dozens of loads in the van). We made sure to save just a few, though, so Isaiah could build a tree in our living room, much like one that DJ and I made as kids.
Putting leaves in the neighbor’s trailer
I saw on the local wildlife refuge’s Facebook page that they had a bunch of birds, so we decided to head down and spend a morning there. We saw hundreds of geese and ducks and even got to see the snow geese in flight.
Ducks on the lake
We celebrated Thanksgiving with our whole family. Now that we’re settled in the new house, we were able to host, since we have a nice big living room that easily fits tables for dinner then becomes a nice space for games and conversation after everyone is finished eating.
Games before lunch
The elves made their return in December. Isaiah was so happy to see them and looked forward to finding them every morning to see what they’d been up to.
He woke up before I went to bed and accidentally found the elves the night they arrived and had to sleep with them.
We made a few trips to meet Santa this year. Isaiah was pretty nervous and never actually sat in his lap. He was so excited to actually see Santa and talk to him, though. The only thing he ever asked for was a Rainbow Dash toy.
In the middle of the holiday and fun, my grandfather ended up sick in the hospital. It was really rough because he’d recently been diagnosed with dementia and had trouble understanding what was happening or where he was. After a few weeks of misery, he passed away. So, while we tried hard to keep things cheerful, this has been a very difficult month. Isaiah doesn’t fully understand, but it’s still hit him pretty hard, so things have been more low key than they normally would have.
Isaiah and his Great Grandfather
DJ got engaged this month. He’s pretty thrilled and she’s awesome. We were going to do some pictures this week, but Isaiah and I have been sick enough that we couldn’t really make it work. Hopefully we’ll get some done soon.
DJ and his fiance, Shiloh
Christmas Day was fun. Isaiah received the Rainbow Dash figure he’d asked for from Santa. Then, when all the other gifts had been given, he got something even better: a big stuffed Rainbow Dash. He hasn’t let it out of his sight since.
One very happy little boy
This has been a rough year with a lot of changes and heartbreak. I’m looking forward to seeing what 2015 will bring. Happy New Year!