And the winner is….

Several months ago, Micah started writing an essay for a contest hosted by the American Life League’s Culture of Life Studies Program.  He doesn’t think that writing is his strong suit (he’d rather do math or science any day!), but he worked hard on the essay, spending 15-20 minutes or more on it each school day for a couple months.

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His hard work paid off, and his essay was chosen as the First Place winner in his age category!  Here are some excerpts from the email correspondence we received from the director:

Congratulations! I am pleased and honored to inform you that, after reading over 600 essays in both categories, we have awarded your exceptional essay entitled “My Brother, Matthew” with first place in Category 1 of our 2017 pro-life essay contest!

…Micah, thank you for your enthusiasm and passion for protecting the least of these in our society! We are all very proud of your dedication to life and pray that God continues to bless you as you stand for His precious children, giving you courage, strength, and joy as you influence your generation to stand for life!

 And later, she wrote:

We were all so touched by Micah’s essay. Not only was it very well written, but he really has a great understanding of Christ’s teaching about the least of these. There were so many wonderful essays but his really stood out for many reasons. 

Thank you for all you and your family do to promote the Gospel of Life!

The very first thing Micah wanted to do with his prize money was to buy a gift for Matthew.  After that, he plans to give to the Church, buy a lego set for himself, then save the rest for college.  We are so very proud of him, his achievements, and the incredible young man he is becoming.

To read his prize-winning essay, visit:  www.prolifeessay.com

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Back on my feet … er, foot

My recovery from the tarsal nerve release surgery has continued to go very smoothly.  I was happy to trade in the big, bulky splint for a “stylish and festive” cast.  🙂  Believe it or not, the cast, because it is so much lighter and smaller, is more comfortable than the splint.

The intense surgical pain only lasted a couple weeks, and then I was able to be up and around.  My “hands-free crutch” has let me do a lot.  I can walk (like a pirate… arrgh!), but I can use my hands while I’m off my foot – an incredible help!  It also let me navigate tight spaces and toy mine-fields better than I can on my scooter.  I have been very grateful for the assistance of this fancy piece of hardware.

The cast will come off on Friday, and I will move to a walking boot and be able to start walking a little bit. I will also start physical therapy again, and hopefully be walking all over the place before too long!

We had a wonderful Christmas at home with family, and celebrated Nathan’s 4th birthday today.  Enjoy the photos!

Celebrating You

Dear Matthew, my precious son,

Today we celebrate you.  Nine short years ago, you came into this world and stole our hearts.

You learned so much this past year.  You can dress yourself, put your own shoes and socks on, and buckle yourself in the car.  Your speech and reading skills keep improving, and you understand just about everything we tell you.  You can follow directions so much better than you did even just a year ago, and your conversational skills keep impressing me, too.  You have started to be very funny, on purpose.  You definitely love to make people laugh.

You love to be helpful, whether that means getting a gallon of milk from the downstairs fridge, helping to set or clear the table, shopping for and unloading groceries, or helping Nathan with something he needs.  You can even start a “Signing Time” DVD all by yourself, “for Nathan,” of course, but you are kind enough to sit and watch it with him.

These are my favorite things about you:

Your smile

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When you say, “I did it!  I did it myself!” 

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The way you love your siblings, and the way they love you

Micah said just yesterday, “Mom, I just love people with Down syndrome!  I just want to be around them and spend time with them!”

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Your curiosity,

and the way you love all of God’s creatures … but especially dogs, horses, and cows!

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Your Joy

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Your love for God and His Church

How fitting it is, that your heart is where your physical miracle took place.  Your heart is so connected to your Creator.  Your pure and precious heart is capable of the deepest, purest love I have known this side of heaven, and you love our Lord completely.

You have touched more hearts than we will ever know.

You are incredible, and we are very proud of you.

I love you, my Matthew, and I am so blessed to be your Mommy. 

 

My First Birthday

I had my first birthday three weeks ago, and my mom hasn’t posted any pictures yet.  She says she’s been busy, and I even think she blames me for some of her lack of “free time.”

(I have some new teeth coming in, and I do want to be close to my Mommy every minute of the day, and I’m waking up more at night, too.)

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I had a great birthday, and celebrated with my family and all of my grandparents.  Mommy made me a pink butterfly cake.IMG_7211

I especially liked picking off the M&Ms.  mmmmm! IMG_7208

Grandma and Grandpa gave me a baby doll, which I love!  I carry her around, hug her and pat her back, brush her teeth with my toothbrush, and wipe her face with a washcloth.  I’m pretty sure I’m ready to be a Mommy. IMG_7232 IMG_7227

It wasn’t a big party, but it wore our my big brother, Matthew.  I adore him, and think he is so funny!  He makes me laugh all the time.  IMG_7242

I’ve been walking for almost two months now, so I think I can do everything my brothers do.  I love to climb things, especially the things that make my mom come running to grab me.  Even if she doesn’t realize it yet, I know that I am ready to take on the world!IMG_7181

I also love being outside.  There is so much to do and explore!  I love splashing in water (especially the toilet … that also makes Mommy come running!). IMG_7311 I also love to eat dirt.  When I’m near dirt, and Mommy starts running toward me, I shove it in my mouth as fast as I can, so she won’t be able to stop me.  mmmmm!  She says I should wait and taste the things that are going to grow in our garden, but I’d much prefer to just eat the garden right now.  I really don’t understand what the problem is!

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I spend most of my days being happy and adorable, busy finding trouble, trying to keep up with my brothers, playing with them and laughing at their antics.  We hope you and your family are also doing well.

With Love,

Mikayla

11 month pictures and Easter

If I’m going to get Mikayla’s 11-month pictures posted before she turns ONE, I better hurry!

Kaylie: 11 months old

Kaylie: 11 months old

We had fun getting these pictures.  I held her up by our flowering plum trees, and Micah used my camera to snap the photos.  That was a special privilege for him, and he did a wonderful job!IMG_6941 IMG_6961 IMG_6955

Somewhere between 11-months and 12-months, my baby became a toddler.  She is walking with confidence now, and very proud of it!  She is such a happy and easy-going little lady, and even though she finds trouble to get into everywhere she goes, she still rewards us with the sweetest smiles and snuggly hugs.

This Easter was the first year we let all 3 boys dye eggs.  It was quite an adventure, but they had a lot of fun.  IMG_6972IMG_6995   IMG_7002 IMG_7004

Jesse is at a stage now where he refuses to smile for pictures.  If we want a smile, we have to capture a candid.  Our attempts at a family Easter photo were … well … you’ll see:IMG_7014 IMG_7031

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Matthew’s New Must-Have Accessory

Matthew has always had his own style, from his baby mohawk to the shape-sorter “hat” he wears at Grandpa’s house.  Lately, he can often be seen sporting blue safety goggles.

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… because you’d just hate to get some play-doh splashed in your eyes!IMG_6578

 

While I’m posting pictures:

I managed to get a great First-Grade “school” picture of Micah…

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right before this happened:  IMG_6623