Monday, April 22, 2013

CCI-for us?!

Well folks, we just went on a major trip. So very many miles driven so close together! We had applied for several different service dog organizations the beginning of 2011, but so many of them came back denied because Cale wasn't (cognitively) independent enough. It left me feeling discouraged and frustrated. Last summer when Cale started to bolt out of the house when he would get angry, we were told by a good friend it was time for a service dog. She also had an amazing organization to tell me about! 

We applied with Canine Companions for Independence last summer and started the long patient wait for a pup. After weeks we received notification that we were accepted for a personal interview. We've missed two of them while at Walter Reed, but finally about two weeks after being home (maybe even just a week?) we received another invite! This part of the process doesn't guarantee a dog but it does bring you just one step closer. Yahoo! 

We decided to drive for this trip. We packed food, loaded the car, gassed up and off we went! We had planned to leave the house by 9am but pulled out of the garage at 8! Who does that?

(Cale's must haves while traveling)

Day 2...and peace. 

Day two ended and we were ready to interview! 

Yes! We were ready and excited! 

The day started off with them showing us what to expect from the dogs, talking to us about the program, and giving us a tour. After a break we came back and worked with the pups! It was so exciting! I felt like a little kid at the Zoo and rather than a dog it was some kind of creature! And...I'm weird. We first all worked with the carpet dog named Fluffy. Next we worked with the actual animal. 

This was a time that as we went in front of the rest of the group, there were people from CCI taking notes behind us! Eeeek! I think this was the only time I was nervous! 

This also gave them a good understanding of where Cale is at. Once the interaction part was over, we went for our personal interview. I wasn't too nervous for this part because although they were interviewing us and taking more notes, I was interviewing them as well! I wanted to make sure that this is going to be what Cale needs and not just a dog that will just be for him to pet. 

They asked us a lot of questions and I felt like it was all going well. They did talk to us about how Cale is at a hard stage to place because he's not (cognitively) independent enough for the service dog, and most of the people that get accepted for a skilled service companion aren't able to interact with the dog as much as Cale is able. I completely understand what they were saying. I saw it too. 

To finish the interview they asked us if we had any questions, Cale's one question to them was, "Do you like pineapple?" I bet they were the only ones asked this the whole day! ;)

On the way home we stopped to visit some of our adorable nieces and nephews and after our travels we finally made it back home...home sweet home! 

Now, we wait for 2 weeks to find out if we were accepted. If not, like I said, I totally understand! And, I still fully support their organization! Top notch by far! We were all three super impressed! 


We received this in a package today! I have to say, we have the BEST prayer warriors along with the BEST gifters! I'm always so blessed by the emails, cards, packages, and sweet words from all of you! 

We love dogs...but we also very much love our cat. :)

This guy seriously brings so much joy to my life.  

Tuesday, April 16, 2013

Thank you Croods.

Family came for almost a week...and we loved every single minute. 

Our time was complete with food, boys day, girls day, fun nephews, baby holding, and a bouncy house. Way too much fun. 

Cale. The real chef.

My knee. My darn knee. In 4th grade I dislocated my knee cap and ever since it's been a nuisance. Darn knee. Went on my long run on Saturday and ended up crashing because of my darn knee. Mama and my prince had to come rescue me...all because of my darn knee

Please note the way my husband is relaxing. Also please note, he still has red on his toes. 

Last week I think I hit every emotion possible. I mean...maybe. I sure felt like it. Cale has had some explosions that well, wow. They hurt. I also found out my dad died. Wrecked. Those two things are only a fraction of what I was dealing with. I was "ok" all week and because of family here visiting, I was distracted. All the while my gut was twisted and my mind was in turmoil. I didn't know how I was feeling and the ability to try to process was so complicated and messy. 

As I sat on the couch working on my book (actually working on it...wowza!) I clicked over to good ol' Facebook for a sec to check something and a friend had posted they were praying for Boston. I quickly turned on the news to find what the rest of America found, a devastating video along with a lot of news commentary on the situation. Was I really watching this again...terror on what was seconds prior a happy fun day?

While our family was visiting, Cale and Ty had a guys day so Nikki and I took the boys to see The Croods. Cute movie by the way. One of my nephews voiced shortly after the movie started that it was historical fiction. Golly that boy is smart. 

Anyways, in the midst of my emotionally wrecking difficult week, in fact the very same day I heard about my dad, I was sitting during a children's movie and at one point the dad in the movie says, "No more hiding. No more dark. What's the point of all of this? To follow the light."

This wasn't meant to be a spiritual statement, hit me directly where I needed it. What is the point to this life and all the pain and disappointment we face? What is the point of life? 

To follow the Light.

Christ is the light of this world and we are to follow Him. We are to walk this earthly battle and keep our eyes and hearts focused on Him. We are to be light to those around us despite what we're feeling.

My heart was aching. Almost in a very real physical way and the reminder to follow the Light was not only the reminder I needed, but also a clear comfort that if we choose to follow the light, eventually there will be no more dark. 
We'll be in glory. 

Monday, April 8, 2013

The plane left without us...

Well folks, I had last written that we were about to leave for a week...but the plane left and we stayed home. The first week home had been quite a challenge. The staff at 7E had talked with me about how it might be difficult, but as much as my mind knew...I just wasn't prepared. 

It's kind of a long story, but on Friday about 30 minutes before we were to leave for the airport, Cale had a really bad explosion. Thankfully he walked right to his man cave and stayed for a couple hours! While he was out there, I made the decision to stay. First of all there was no way I was getting him on the plane and I just knew it wasn't a good idea. 

I will be the first to admit that I didn't have the best attitude. I hated not being able to go. With tears I talked with Mama and called the hotel and airline. I also unpacked. 

I would love to tell you how grown up I responded and how mature I was but...reality is that I kicked and screamed the entire time I unpacked! I was so upset. Red faced and puffy eyed I refolded and stomped around. I let the Lord know exactly how I felt and how unfair I thought the whole thing was. 

It went just a bit deeper then the simple story of not walking through security and being guided to B10...

When Cale did come back in, we talked and went for a walk. He had calmed down and so had I. I was still pretty miserable until the next morning. My first thought was how we weren't in CO with all of our friends and then it hit me as I opened my I'm home. 

As much as I was  disappointed about not going, it ended up being such a relief and blessing! In fact, blessing after blessing came within the last week! 

Sometimes we just need a kick in the pants. 

Saturday we went to a birthday party for our niece. We've missed so many family events so it felt so good to be there and be a part of her special day. It was at an it was extra fun!

Hanging with my nephew :)

No picture with the birthday girl! Whoops!

The next day was Easter. 

I will write more about Easter tomorrow but wanted to share how amazing Cale did during service! And, it's been two Sundays now and both have been great! He has been so interactive and focused. Our pastor will ask questions and Cale will answer and not hold back. He's engaged and honestly enjoying it. After the hard week and then not being on the be in church on Easter...well...was kind of a quick reminder about how trips are not such big deals when you think about the cross. 


We spent the afternoon at home hanging out and then we spent the evening with family. Beautiful day.

On Monday I received a message from a close friend that she was thinking about coming into town and wondered if I was going to be available Wednesday and Thursday. Without hesitation I replied, YES!!! 

She is so special to me. I played with the idea of locking her in one of our rooms and not letting her out...but I knew the fun in that wouldn't last. Ha. 

The only picture we got together was one Cale quickly snapped...

Ashley, you are a true gift. We had such a short time together but every bit of time with you was soaked with blessings. Our conversations were needed and your visit is one I'll treasure. 

We've been doing a lot of living life. It's been a blast being in our own home again and making it into what we need a little more everyday. 

Part of the challenging week was indeed the checklist. I don't think it was the actual cause of all of Cale's explosions, but it's where he directed his anger. He constantly would say it was for the hospital and not for home. We also noticed that he was using the same phrases when he was angry as he did on 7E, "Here sucks!" "Send me to jail." "Home is better." "I want to go home." "I'm sad here."

After talking with a friend and gaining some outside wisdom, we decided we needed to change up the checklist. I knew I couldn't just throw it out the window (like I really wanted to!) but I did need to adjust it to Cale. We ended up creating a list for me and Mama as well...and what we've come up with and how we've altered a few things, seems to be a really good fit. 

I've been working on little projects here and there with Mama. I'm not consumed with it since I had come back for a week in February. It's just fun and relaxing. I had purchased a chandelier almost a year ago and have been waiting to get it up, and now I have! 

One of my favorite things has been listening to everyone describe our home as, "It's so Kathleen." Makes my heart happy.

On Thursday Cale spent almost the entire day in slippers! He was so happy about this! Haha! 

While on 7E Cale would tease the nurses after he would go to the bathroom. He wouldn't dry his hands and then he'd find one of them to shake his hand. With a smirk he would tell them he didn't wash his hands...and he peed on them...

His mom found this chefs hat which was perfect! 

Another silly hat for Cale! :)

My brothers birthday was last Tuesday (he's an old man!). He was a Marine for 15 years so we made him a little birthday video to make him smile...

This month the Darling Project is asking you to join us in blessing someone in your life (or you don't even know!) with flowers or a plant! Let them know they're special and you're thankful for them! If you haven't joined our Facebook page to stay updated I encourage you to do so! :)

I would have to say the best thing about being home is how just about everyone that has gotten to see us has talked about how much better Cale is doing. He's even shocking me with how he's interacting on FB! I'm sure if you're my friend or his that you've seen him commenting a lot more lately! He's also messaging people and texting a lot more! He really is becoming more and more of his own person again. I LOVE it. LOVE IT!!!! It is such a blessing to watch his character unfold. 

I hope in some way you'll be able to interact with him. It may be the coolest thing ever. 

At least I think so!