Friday, August 31, 2012

Williamsburg: Artillery Demonstrations

Although Caleb was a little nervous about these demonstrations beforehand, they quickly became some of his favorite memories of our trip!

We went to quite a few of these demonstrations.  Something we realized is that Abby was perfectly fine with the noise if she could watch the set-up and everything that was happening.  She cried if we were further away and she wasn't able to see everything leading up to the firing.

Wednesday, August 29, 2012

Filling My Bucket

Caleb's teacher (and the whole school, from what I can tell) has been talking a lot about filling each other's buckets.  Basically, doing and saying nice things to others fills their invisible bucket.  Doing something mean makes a little spill out.  So, be a bucket filler, not a spiller!

Can I just tell you how much this simple concept has changed our home?!?!  Caleb has completely embraced the idea and talks often about ways he can fill the buckets of others.  Tonight at the grocery store, he plotted to fill the bucket of the checker who was putting our groceries in our cart! I'm pretty sure the guy's bucket was a little fuller when we left.  :)  We have also been sure to let Caleb know when he has filled our buckets.  He craves praise, so he absolutely loves knowing that he has filled our buckets up.

I never thought that Caleb would be this excited about school!  He LOVES it!  The boy is ready to go a half an hour before the bus gets here, and runs off the bus filling my ears with all they did that day.  He sat right down and did his homework, and didn't fuss at all when I had him redo a few things.  It has been SUCH a transformation in the last week, and we credit that to his phenomenal teacher!  She is so perfect for Caleb.

Just to brag on my boy a tiny bit you know that he has been collecting soda tabs from the other Kindergarteners at lunch?!  He comes home every day and proudly deposits them in our collection bottle.  What a sweet heart for RMH he has!

My boy seems to be thriving in school, and I couldn't be happier!  May this honeymoon last a looooooong time!

Wordless Wednesday

Tuesday, August 28, 2012

Just Like Daddy

Little baby Matt had a baseball shirt made especially for him with the name LEACH on the back.  His mom gave it to us when Caleb was born, and he proudly wore it when he was about 18 months old.  

We thought it fitting to wear it when we went to the Baseball Hall of Fame!

Now Abby is able to wear it!  She's a pretty cute little baseball player!

Caleb and Abby...crazy just like Daddy!  :)

(In case you are wondering...Abby's eyes are not crossing.  She is closely monitored by an ophthalmologist, and it is simply the shape of her face.  It's pretty much just an optical allusion.  We do "the light test" often just to make sure, and I don't really notice it too often anymore.  But it is pretty obvious in this picture!)

Monday, August 27, 2012

Something You May Take for Granted

I've never seen Abby's full head and neck.


She was taken from us immediately after her birth to the room across the hall, where they attempted to intubate her before putting a trumpet into her nose.  My first glimpse of my daughter was so filled with tape and neon orange plastic that I honestly had no image of her in my mind.  In fact, when I went down to the NICU for the first time, I'm ashamed to say that I didn't know which tiny baby in the incubator was mine.   I peered from face to face, but none of them looked like mine. The nurse practitioner had to bring me to my baby.

Imagine how that felt, to not know who your daughter was.

After the trumpet came the trach.  I could finally see a little more of her face with some of the tape gone.  (She still had a feeding tube through her nose at this point, so there was some tape there.)  But there has always been something there that is not really supposed to be there.

So, while I can certainly picture my daughter's face in my mind by now, I really don't know what she will look like trachless!  I didn't think that this would affect me as much as it has, but as the time draws nearer where I will see my daughter without a trach, I'm realizing how excited I am to see Abby in a new way.

I'm sure she will be beautiful.

And I will be a mess.  Because I will finally be able to see my daughter's entire upper body for the very first time.

10 days!!!!

Sunday, August 26, 2012

Instagram Recap

Here are a few pictures I've taken recently with Instagram.  It's not my D90, but I do enjoy the quick editing features!

Abby loves to put her sunglasses on!

She really enjoys walking to the bus to get Caleb in the afternoons.  The last few days, she has taken a baby in a stroller.  AND, she can push it both down and UP hill!  I love when therapy meets everyday life!  (One of these days, I'm going to write a book about how to incorporate your child's speech, PT, and OT therapies into your everyday activities.  But not right now!)

Caleb and Abby...I think Matt might have taken this one, actually!

My favorite!  My grandmother walking with one of her great-granddaughters.

Saturday, August 25, 2012

Their Loss, Our Gain!

The Room Store corporation is going out of business.  Although I felt badly for the employees who were going to be out of work, we were thrilled with the discounted prices!!

We'd been thinking about getting a loft for Caleb for a while to conserve space in his not-so-big room, but figured we would wait until we found a good deal.

Room Store liquidation = great prices = Leach family visit to the store!!

We found a great loft for a great price and even added an additional matching dresser for less than the original price of just the loft.  For the first time, I will finally be able to have Caleb's summer and winter clothes out at the same time!  Until now, I have packed up clothes several times a year and left a storage bin in his closet with "in between" clothes.  Not anymore!!

Matt, our friend Steven, and my dad worked today to put it together.  I was pleasantly surprised at how easily it went up.  Matt and I spent the afternoon transferring clothes, rehanging pictures, and putting other finishing touches on the room.  Steven's oldest daughter is now the proud owner of Caleb's previous twin bed!  This makes Caleb very happy  because he can visit his bed when we go over to their house.  :)

This is the whole loft.  It has an additional double bed that comes out from the bottom, but we obviously don't need it.  We turned the area under the bed into a look reading nook for Caleb.  He calls it his grotto.  I have no idea where he gets this stuff!

This is the dresser, which is also one side of the loft base.  It holds all of his summer clothes.

These are little cubbies that hold things.  Caleb's fish, Emily, now lives in his room on a high shelf after she very nearly became a land fish the other day.  I rescued her bowl from the grip of a curious toddler and promptly relocated poor Emily to a safer residence!

This is the other side of his room, with the additional dresser we purchased.  I don't have anything in it yet, but we'll start filling it as it gets a little cooler.  No more packing up clothes!!  Caleb is also finally able to enjoy his Anywhere Chair in his room.

Father and son, reading in the grotto.

Thank you, Room Store!  Your loss is our gain!


Abby has been working really hard on her kicking lately!  

She is also getting to be a fast runner, is jumping, and can walk up and down pretty steep inclines.  Go Abs!

Friday, August 24, 2012

Thursday, August 23, 2012

Global Genes Project

Abby's story was shared today on the Global Genes Project's blog.  You can also see a feature on their Facebook page.  This is exciting because it is one of the biggest proponents of rare disease awareness and research with a huge following.  They are pretty respected in the medical community.  They have a looooooong list of rare diseases, but guess what was not one of them?  (It is now!!)  My hope is that Abby's story aids doctors, geneticists, nurses, etc. in diagnosing CCMS in infants.  Even more, I want her story to give hope to families who might be facing CCMS!

Williamsburg: Abby's Pets

Abby discovered her love for chickens on our trip.  They were free range all over the historic sites, and she would get really excited whenever she saw one.  I never did get her to say chicken, but she would yell out a rousing, "Bird!" every time she spotted one--and she had quite an eagle eye!

This gal made her nest in a fire box in a kitchen.  Guess who spotted her?  Abs!

This crazy chicken was inside the oven!  If she only knew the irony of her chosen place of rest.  

One of the people who worked there came to get her out, since they do really bake in there, and she refused to budge.  He ended up using a fire poker to prod her out, and she was none too happy.

He made sure she wouldn't return to her comfy bed, and she proceeded to stand outside of the oven and protest loudly for the next ten minutes.

Take a listen at the angry bird!

Wednesday, August 22, 2012

Kindergarten Recap

I'm finally able to write about Caleb's kindergarten experience!  

Orientation was a little rough...the bus was a little scary and he was a little overwhelmed in general. 

I was nervous for what the "big day" might bring...

But I didn't need to be.  He woke up in a great mood and was excited to go to school.  He even cooperated for some pictures!

We hung out at the bus stop with our neighbors.  The girl is in 2nd grade and the boy is in kindergarten with Caleb.  They are in the same class and becoming fast friends!  It's really nice to have some kids Caleb's age on our street now.  

And here's the big bus entrance!  He did great!

Caleb's teacher is wonderful!!!  He adores her and talks all night about things they have done in class.  She has already taught them a lot about having good character and being kind to your friends.  It's going to be a great year!

(Almost) Wordless Wednesday

Happy 22 months on the 22nd, Ladybug!

Tuesday, August 21, 2012

Happy First Day of School!

Happy Very First Day of School, Caleb Boy!

How in the world did we get here?!  Wasn't I just giving him his first bath yesterday?  In just a few minutes, I'll be putting my boy on the bus for the first time (which was never in my plan...he was supposed to ride to school with me, and hang out in my classroom until school started...but my plan was overruled by God's plan!) and he will officially be a Lion.  *sigh*  

I'll be excited to hear all about his day when he gets home, but right now I'm a little sad.  

Monday, August 20, 2012

Amazing News!!!!

Our ENT called this morning, and Abby is officially going to get her trach out!!!!!!!!!  What's even better is that she is scheduled for SEPTEMBER 6TH...just 2 1/2 weeks away!!!!!!!!!

I quickly called Matt with the news, and we shared some tears and blubbering.  Then I listened to "Our God" three or four times in a row and blubbered a little more.  Tonight, we both blubbered through singing "Our God" at Caleb and Abby's bedtime.

I know we say it all of the time, but we are so thankful for all of the miracles that God has performed in Abby's life.  What an amazing story we have to tell, and what an easy way to share about Christ!

Our God is greater, our God is stronger, God You are higher than any other.  Our God is healer, awesome in power.  Our God!  Our God!

And if our God is for us, then who could ever stop us?

Caption Contest!

As I alluded to in a previous post, my attempted photo shoot at the farm was disastrous.  There was lots of screaming, crying, and gnashing of teeth.

This classic photo was a product of said photo shoot. Awesome.

I haven't done a caption contest in a while, but I think this is a good one to use!  Have at it!

The winner will receive a mystery prize of epic proportions.  (Read:  I haven't decided yet!)  :)  

The rules:
You may enter as many times as you want by commenting on this post or underneath of it on Facebook. 

 All entries must be received by August 25th at 8:00 p.m.  The winner will be chosen that evening after the 8:00 p.m. deadline.

My husband impartial judge will listen to each comment without knowing who wrote it before deciding on a winner.

Happy captioning!

Sunday, August 19, 2012

Williamsburg: Free Day

The Thursday of our vacation was dubbed Free Day, since we'd shelled out quite a bit on several of our activities earlier in the week.  I searched around on the internet and found two free activities that sounded pretty cool.

1.  The Space Park
This website boasted of real shuttles, missiles, planes, etc. that the kids could run around and climb on.    Score!  Caleb will LOVE this!  What it didn't say is that there was a crotchety old man running the museum who followed the children from one exhibit to the next, forbidding them to touch anything at all.  Fail.
This gives you a little perspective of just how big this missile was!

This was one of the few planes that didn't have a fence around it, so Caleb was able to go right up to it and stand under the wing.  It was really low to the ground!  His head just barely fit under it.

The second free activity of the day was to a farm run by the local ASPCA.  You could see lots of animals native to Virginia, feed them, learn about farming practices, etc.  Abby loves animals, so we thought this might be fun to do.

Abby is getting acquainted with the goats, yelling, "DOG!!!"

Almost all of the animals there were rescued or ill.  This poor black cow had some issues...

So...Free Day may not have been the most fun day of the entire trip, but it was fine for what it cost... :)

Saturday, August 18, 2012

Williamsburg: Jamestown

We got one of the week-long passes for Jamestown and Yorktown, because we knew that spending an entire day at each one with small children would be torturous for all involved.  We were able to come and go as we pleased, and it worked out quite well!  These pictures are from several different days, which is why you see some different outfits.  :)

Caleb enjoyed pounding the corn.

Abby spent a whole lot of time after lunch doing this...

...except when she was just trying to fake me out!

There was a church that Caleb LOVED.  He didn't want to leave.  We thought he was pretending to be the pastor and deliver a wonderful sermon to those in the service.  

Nope.  He was having a battle in the church.  Nice one.

The ships were a big hit with Caleb.  There were three we could go on and explore...and explore, he did!!

Piece the Cannon!!!

This girl loved Caleb, and he asked her all kinds of questions.  When he came back on here later with Matt, Caleb told Matt everything he'd learned while she listened in.  She was so impressed with his memory!  The boy is a sponge.

There was an artillery demonstration.  It was loud, but Caleb really liked it.

Steering the ship.

More cannon action

Abby wasn't overly in love with the boats, but she did think it was fun to sweep the floor.