Monday, October 31, 2011

Brett - picture perfect

Brett has gone to Easter Seals since he was an infant. He first went for services such as having his hearing checked and monitored and has received physical therapy, pool therapy, nutrition counseling, feeding therapy and speech therapy/assistive technology.
It is an amazing place for so many reasons - they have really awesome equipment, the therapists there absolutely rock, there is always a feeling of family and support. In addition to that one of Brett's favorite things about Easter Seals has been the photos up and down the hallways. They are pictures of children and adults who receive services at Easter Seals and are beautiful and inspirational. He has always loved walking the hallway and stopping at pictures - especially when they feature some of the people we've come to know through our Easter Seals involvement.
So when we received a phone call last year that Brett was nominated to be featured in the 2011 photo exhibit because (in addition to being adorable) he was a great candidate for the theme "Striving for Independence," we were all very excited.
Brett was photographed by a volunteer over the summer and last week a reception was held for the official unveiling of the photos. Brett's photo features him playing the piano, as he loves music. Brett seemed to be very proud and had a great time, but I think he mostly loved being surrounded by his loving family. Everyone turned out for his big night - Grandma, Granddad and Auntie Rhonda, Grammy, Poppy, Auntie Amy, Uncle Jackie, Caroline and Sophie, Auntie Kerry and Auntie Nancy and his brothers and mom and dad. Thank you everyone for staying out late on a weeknight to celebrate Brett. Although we were there to see his photo I know we were all celebrating so much more - God is good!

Brett is learning to use a device to help him communicate. It involves a "talker" or computer that displays pictures and he uses switches to shuffle through and select what he wants to say and the computer speaks on his behalf. Here he is talking to his cousins Sophie and Caroline.

Talking to Auntie Rhonda

Peyton (above) and Jackson (below) got all dressed up to honor their brother!

Monday, October 24, 2011

Big Boy Beds

Brett has been in a big boy bed for about a year. Moving him to a bed in his own room was a big step, but the move was great and he started to sleep much better. Which meant Tate and I began to sleep much better. So although we knew Jackson and Peyton were old enough to be moved to beds we admittedly were enjoying our rest. It wasn't broke so why fix it?
Well they are almost 3 and a half so it was past time.
We already had the beds from when I panicked when they climbed out of their cribs and made Tate run around with me to buy them and immediately put them together only to realize that they weren't ready for beds yet.
We spent several weeks talking about it. Tate repainted their room while we were in Wisconsin. The day before they were to help Daddy change their room we went shopping and Jackson and Peyton got to pick out their own bedding. They insisted Brett get something new for his room too and picked out some really cute truck sheets for him.
It has been over a week and they are doing pretty well. They had a few nights of calling us into the room any time they stirred but seem to be settling into their new setting. Each of them falls out of bed most nights - but the beds are just inches from the floor and it doesn't even wake them up.
Although they love to play on their beds they don't get out of them until one of us comes to get them. I don't know how long that will last, but we are enjoying it.
I got all choked up when I walked in the room with the new furniture all set up. They really are getting so much bigger.
They even help make their beds every morning!

Here are some photos of the transformation:

Daddy and Jackson taking down the cribs

Peyton and Jackson help move pieces out of the room.

Jackson helps build the dresser.

I wish I had a better picture of Brett helping. He was so excited for his brothers and loved his new sheets. He helped build most of the dresser drawers with Daddy while Jackson and Peyton shopped for their first real pillows.

Peyton and Jackson tuck in for a test drive.

Fall fun

We had started a tradition of going to Michigan to pick apples and attend a fall festival there, but found out about a month before that the fall festival and the place it was being held was closed. We were bummed because it was a place my family grew up going. But Auntie Kiki and Auntie Nancy didn't let that ruin the fun. They found us another place to stay in Wisconsin.
We were having trouble trying to decide how to mark Grammy & Poppy's 50th wedding anniversary and treated them to the trip. We had a really cool house to stay in and had fun discovering a new area.
We went to an Octoberfest complete with German food, music and dancing.

Peyton the tiger

Jackson's spider

Brett's snake

Jackson and Caroline climbing

Brett and Auntie Nancy

Peyton, Jackson and Sophie make a train

Grammy treated to ice cream (from left) Caroline, Peyton, Jackson, Brett and Auntie Kiki

We went apple picking and had the most perfect warm weather. Here are (from left) Caroline, Jackson, Sophie, Grammy, Jackson, Brett and Poppy

Peyton climbing an apple tree.

Sophie plays the banjo with Uncle Jackie while Peyton (left) and Jackson listen.

Labor Day

Ok, another out of order post, but we visited Grammy & Poppy in Wisconsin for Labor Day and didn't want to miss blogging about it!
We spent a majority of the weekend playing outside. The weather was kind of chilly and Auntie Kiki and Auntie Nancy had organized a big garage sale so we spent a lot of time just hanging out and had a whole lot of fun.
We also celebrated a special birthday with Grammy!
Caroline helps Grammy celebrate her special birthday.

Jackson got a pie in the face

Papa Don and Mrs. Pat have opened their private beach to us affectionately known as Cow Beach. It was too cold to swim, but the kids watched movies, colored and ate plums off their tree and had a ball! Despite the rainy weather that day Brett snuck in a ride on the cow.

All the grandkids (from left) Brett, Caroline, Peyton, Sophie and Jackson.

Summer rewind

So this blog will be a bit out of order, but I didn't want to skip over some of the fun we had over the summer.
We took our annual trip to Tennessee to visit family and had a blast.
We stopped halfway home with Grandma, Granddad and Auntie Rhonda, Auntie Kiki and Auntie Nancy and the boys stayed in their first hotel - they really enjoyed that!
Here are a few photos:

Peyton on the road trip - all the boys were so good on the long drive.

Peyton and Jackson play checkers at Cracker Barrel

Brett tries out a rocker at Cracker Barrel

Erin was just starting her first teaching job, but still found time to come play

The next photos are from when cousins Terry and Walt took us to the farm. They boys were treated to rides with Walt on the tractor and four wheeler. It was a highlight of the trip.



Peyton and Aunt Delta

Brett and Auntie Kiki


Terry and the aunts treated the boys to a Tennessee birthday. Even though they turned 3 in May the Tennessee family hosted a birthday party for them during their August visit - such lucky boys! Blowing out the candles are (from left) Jackson, Brett, Grandma, Peyton, Uncle Burt and Aunt Thelma.

The next pictures are from the boys' firsts trip to Dollywood. It was over 100 degrees. I thought we should still go. We had a great time, but it was a bit too hot.

Rhonda, Grandma, Daddy, Jackson, Peyton, Me, Auntie Kiki with Brett, Auntie Nancy, Aunt Thelma and Aunt Brenda.

Peyton and Auntie Rhonda on his first Ferris Wheel ride.

Jackson & Brenda on his first Ferris Wheel ride.

Peyton, Brett and Jackson in a cool ride.

Me, Brett, Jackson, Peyton and Daddy

We were all melting from the heat, but Jackson literally melted in the stroller a sure sign it was time to go home!