Friday, December 16, 2011

New Developments

Karter has a number of goals at school right now that we are working on at home as well. One of his goals was to hold his cup with assistance from the teacher or from us (hand over hand).

A week or so back, he was sitting on the couch and I set him up with his cup, hand over hand. I had to grab the phone so I let go of him so I could walk away and he continued to hold the cup on his own.

He ended up drinking the entire thing on his own! He did it again the next day. He can do it if his arms are well supported behind him however in his wheelchair, there is not enough support to make that possible. Right now, at home we are working on this and are thrilled at his progress. Here is a picture so you can see for yourself.

Friday, November 25, 2011

The Van Story

If I were to say I was overwhelmed with gratitude, that would be very much the understatement of the year. Our van is a miracle...seriously, I am not trying to be dramatic, it is a true testimony of God's faithfulness in our lives once again.

About a year ago, we made the decision to "start" the process of getting an adapted van. Looking into it we discovered it was WAY over our heads to cover the cost with our current monthly budget. We looked at used van but then even they were too pricey.

Knowing very little about conversions at the time, we sort of figured we would just convert the van we already had only to find out later that there is no such conversion kit for our van...ok back to square one.

With the help of various people at the Child Development Center, we were given names of organizations that offered grants for such a situation. I started to look into these grants.

In March we were surprised...SERIOUSLY a fundraiser that had been thrown in Karter's honor to help raise funds to put towards this project. Just over $5000 came in from that event. That spurred us on to move forward in the process.

I spent about a month compiling all the information that we would need to put an application together for the two grant applications I would be sending. At the end of April I sent both applications out; the amount I asked for would combined equal about $50000. After getting quotes for converted vans, we knew we were looking at over $60000 as our final price...EEK!

In June, we received our first application letter back...we had been denied because our pre-taxable income was $2000 too high. This was so hard to understand because of the circumstances that surrounded that extra $2000 (I will spare you the details to keep things short). Although extremely disappointed, we picked ourselves off and gathered our slightly bruised faith and reminded ourselves that we trust that God had all things taken care of and that this was no surprise to Him.

My Grandmother passed away at the beginning of June and unknown to us, in lieu of flowers people were asked to give donations in her memory to Missions or to a fund for Karter. Over the course of a few months another $2000 came in from friends and family in my Grandma's memory...if you knew my Grandma, this would have expressed the desire of her heart perfectly. We were more than overwhelmed by this.

I started looking further into other sources of funding; different service organizations and other children's charities. I received grant applications from two other charities and completed and sent applications to them at that time.

In August I received word that one of the first grant applications I sent in had been approved for $25000...we were elated. We were more than half way there!

In September we received approval from two of the other charities; $7500 from one and $3500 from the other.

At the end of September, we felt that we needed to take a step of faith and purchase the van. Each of the grant approvals was only good for 6 months and the ordering process takes up to 12 weeks. So we went ahead and made our choice and signed the papers. Because they required a down payment, we went ahead and traded our old van in to use as the down payment.

On the way home after signing the papers, I received an email from one of the people I had contacted in the summer about funding. He was from a local service club. He let me know that he had been away for a few months and that he would be sending me an application for funding. In the end, we received $1000 from them (actually the email came in as we were driving to pick up the van...interesting how that all worked out).

With our trade in and all of our grant money we managed to raise a total of $52,000 towards the van. There are a couple of other things that we are waiting for and hopefully those will take down that amount even more. An additional blessing is that we have had a family member offer us an interest free loan for the balance, an amazing gesture that helped us out more than they will even know.

God is so faithful. He saw our need and provided for it. This van is a testimony that He is interested in every part of our lives, even a wheelchair van! He knew that we were unable to attain the van through our monthly means, so He put people and agencies on our path to assist us.

Karter loves his new van, it has made daily routines so much easier and Karter is thankful to not be transferred out of his wheelchair into his car seat and vise versa every time we make a stop. And me...well I an thankful that I no longer have to hoist both Karter and his chair into the vehicle anymore...I think my chiropractor will see me even less now!

So if you see us driving down the road with enormous smiles on our faces just know that it is because of our extreme gratitude for God's provision! Many of you are a part of that provision, so we extend our thanks to you as well.

Wednesday, November 23, 2011


I have only a moment to update right now, there will be more details to follow...soon!

We picked up the van the other day. We are thrilled at its ease on our daily routines with Karter. We are absolutely overwhelmed with gratitude right now. I cannot wait to update you with all the details....

Friday, November 11, 2011

"We Remember"

I had the privileged of joining Karter's class for a school wide assembly for Remembrance Day. Karter and another girl from his class had been chosen to participate in the Wreath Ceremony.

It moved so fast and because of the nature of the assembly, I held myself from back from jumping in the middle of the ceremony to get a shot... (but you have no idea the restraint it took ;-)). Most of my pictures are a bit blury because of movement, but I had to share them anyhow.

Thursday, November 10, 2011


Sometimes there are no words...

The Pumpkin Patch

Karter's first elementary school field trip was to the pumpkin patch. Unfortunaley for them, they missed the nice fall weather by 1 day and ended up going on a dreary cold October day; such is life in BC.

Because the patch is not easily accessible by wheelchair, we sent Karter in his stroller. Here are a couple of shots from the day. We were told after he was not a very happy camper (secretly I didn't blame him, I don't think my mood would have been very cheery in the rain either ;-)).

Saturday, October 8, 2011

Worn Out

Friday there was no school, so we had an at home day. At one point, Karter and I were on the floor and I had him on his tummy; he did not fight me as he normally does, instead he just rested his head on his arm. I was laying beside him and we snuggled until he fell asleep. I think he was worn out from a full week of school.

Wednesday, September 28, 2011

Sometimes is takes a step of faith

Our journey to the van in slowly coming to a close. As I have mentioned the majority of our fund raising has come through and we are just waiting on a couple of other things in order to be finished.

Although we are not quite 100% there yet with the funding, we decided that we were going to step out in faith and order the van. One of our grants has a six month expiry date and the van can take up to 3 months to order, so it was important that we not lose that money.

So this past week, Kurt and I went in to finalize the details. We traded in our van so that we can use that as the down payment for ordering and we made the final decisions on the van. We will be a one vehicle family for awhile but we will make it work just fine.

I feel so strongly in my spirit that there are still things that are going to fall into place. I felt like the Lord was saying to me that sometimes we need to step out in faith in order to access all of what God has for us. Sometimes, we can sit back and become disappointed when things don't all work out. I feel like sometimes we need to take action in order to receive what is coming.

So that all said, we signed the papers and our van is on order. It is in stock and so we are looking at 6-8 weeks (the conversion company is slow right now) until the delivery date. In case you are curious, this is what we decided on (there were only really two options):

:::drum roll please:::

2011 Toyota Sienna, in white. The conversion will be rear entry and will allow Karter to roll in behind the 2nd row of seats and be anchored down in his chair.

One more thing...I need to mention this because I feel like it was significant (and I want to remember it in years to come ;-) ). About an hour after we made our decision, I got an email to my phone from one of the local charities that I had sent an inquiry in to a number of months back. I had sort of put them out of my mind as a possibility since I had not heard back from them. Anyhow, they sent me a application for funding and I have since been in dialogue with them. I am not sure what all the details look like, but they have received our application and will present it to their board of directors sometime in October.

Although this has been the longest we have ever taken to purchase anything in our lives, the journey has been truly a gift. It has been so amazing to see God's hand in this, to experience His favor and to be able to watch it all come together. He is good!

Thursday, September 22, 2011

1st week of school

We are almost through the first FULL week of school for Karter. Last week he did gradual entry each day. The first few days were about 90 minutes and then he worked his way up to half days. This week however, he has gone everyday all day!

It was weird the first day he was gone. I was working at my computer and then all of the sudden I would have this panicked feeling and I would stop my work, jump up and look at his mat...oh right he is not here. Or I would stop and listen to hear is he was awake from his nap...oh right he is not here. It was so strange. I wonder how long it will take to break that habit? I am certain this transition is only hard on me :-)

I have to say, I was skeptical about how he would handle the full days. I had figured that Karter would crash around 10:30 and then again in the afternoon. I was wrong! Karter has done amazing, he loves his class and it seems that he has not once slept.

It is pretty amazing for this Mama to see how much he is enjoying each day. When I pick him up, he is all smiles and when we hits the car, he is jibber jabbering away in the back seat, happy as can be. This just warms my heart and has made the transition so easy.

I really did fear sending him all day. Will he like it? Will he be upset the whole time? Will he eat for someone else?... Looking back, I realized I really did have a lot of worries. All of my fears and concerns have been laid to rest. His teachers are fabulous, the program is exceptional and for the first time in his life, he is in a place where he is typical. Honestly, if you have not had a child with special needs or exceptional circumstances, I am not sure you can understand what a gift that is. My son is in a place where he is like everyone else, there are no concessions made for him, there are no modifications that need to be made to the program or explanations that need to be had. For the first time, he has a place to go where he can be who he is and he can excel from that place. I almost cannot contain the joy in my heart because of this.

So, the first week has been a real success. Karter has adjusted so easily and seems so happy.

Thursday, September 8, 2011

School Orientation

This morning Karter and I headed off to his school for a 1 hour orientation visit. We dropped Miss P off at her school first and then headed up the hill to Karter's school. (how thrilled am I that their schools are only about 4 blocks apart).

Before we went in, I grabbed a couple of shots of my big longer a a BIG kindergartner!

I love this shot!

We made our way into the classroom to meet the teachers and SEA's that will be working alongside Karter. Before the morning activities began, we had a few minutes to get acquainted and chat a bit about Karter and the program.

Once all the kids had arrived they started the day with a circle time.

They talked about the weather and the day of the week, sang a name song, talked a bit about what each child did in the summer. It was amazing to see how each child was given opportunity to interact, even though they did not have words to use.

After the songs were finished, the teacher read a book. The teacher doing circle took the book around to each child and gave them opportunity to see each page, touch it or respond to it however they would like. Karter touched the page each time it was his turn. He really does love books!

After circle time we took a tour of the school and talked with the Physiotherapist and Occupation Therapists that will be working with Karter. We left just before snack time. It was a great visit.

Karter will not go again tomorrow but will start on his own on Monday (I will be the one in tears in the parking lot). He will go for a few hours each day next week and then we will work out a plan to work his way up to full days. I actually feel really at ease after todays visit. Each of the teachers and SEA's seem wonderful and so loving. I think Karter is going to really love school.

Look at my BIG kindergarten smart and so ready for this new season!

Tuesday, September 6, 2011

And so it begins...

:::I must start this post with a quick van update:::

We have received another grant for $5000 from Variety Children's Charity, thank you Jesus! There is one more grant that we are waiting on, we should hear about that late September. There have also been some donations that have come in from family members in memory of Grandma; these are so precious!

We have made the deal to trade in our van and we are on our way to finalizing everything and putting in the official order. We are so humbled to see God's hand in all of this, we are continue to trust that He has taken care of the rest of the funds needed.

:::OK now down to other business:::

Tonight is the last night I will have a preschooler, a stay child at home, a non-school aged be completely candid, the thought of it kills me. Oh how the past 5 years flew by and after tonight's sleep, I have a kindergartner.

Tomorrow morning Karter and I go to his school for his first day of kindergarten. It is a 1 hour slot of time where we meet his SEA, classmates and the other teachers. Luckily, I get to stay with him for the hour. However as of Monday, he will be going half days as part of his gradual entry. We are working up to full days over the course of the next while.

I spent a good portion of time today grabbing snuggles, singing songs and praying over him. He even fell asleep on my chest for a time, that was God's precious gift to me today no doubt. I am going to miss him and I am certain that this transition is going to be harder on me than it is on him.

I would be lying if I told you I had not shed a few tears already. Actually, I fear I will be a complete mess on Monday morning. I hope I can keep the "ugly cry" composed until I reach the privacy of my van in the parking lot at very least.

I cried on Paige's first day of school, but I knew she was where she wanted to be. I knew that she was getting opportunity that I could no longer give her at home. She was making relationships that were outside of me and our home. Although I feel the same for Karter, there is an attachment that I have with him that is different. There is so much that he depends on me for and releasing that to someone else it a daunting task.

I spent a lot of the day reminiscing all the nights spent at Children's Hospital, all the milestones we have worked towards, all the hurdles Karter has overcome. And tomorrow, a new day begins, a new season emerges and we forge forward into uncharted waters. I am mixed with emotions.

Here is my prayer for you Karter

"May this year be one of amazing new beginnings, huge milestones and many days filled with smiles and laughter. I pray that your new teachers enjoy you as much as we do and that your smile and giggle become infectious to all those around you. I pray that you will be full of joy, abounding with energy so that you can attend to tasks and that you will receive new learning with a smile on your face. I pray that you will enjoy the new activities, love your new friends and teach others the way only you can. I pray protection over you for love all around you. May this year be one that you look back on as monumental!"

Wednesday, August 17, 2011

Van Update

This afternoon we got a call letting us know that we have been approved for a grant of $25,000 towards the purchase of the converted van. Needless to say, there were tears of joy on the phone; so much so I could hardly squeak out a "Thank-you!". Although we were believing for that money to come through, it was a wonderful relief when we could actually hear the words.

I think I failed to mention that last month we were denied on one of the other larger grants we had applied to. The way they cap their household income we were just a couple thousand over; unfortunately last year because of a couple side jobs Kurt did, we lost out on a lot of funding. However discouraging at the time, we decided that we would continue to trust for the funds to come through; we just might have to look a bit harder for it.

Currently, we have applications in to two other children's charities and two local societies. They are for smaller amounts of money, but combined, it will really help us meet our goal. We are hoping that by the end of September all the funding will have come through.

I think we have finalized the choice of van and conversion, we are currently just working out the details for selling our van vs trading it in. The van will take about 4 months once it has been ordered. The conversion happens in Michigan or back East, so it has to be shipped here once it is completed. So it will be December, at the earliest, before we see it.

I will try and keep updating as the funds come in. At this point, between the grant money and the money that has been fund-raised through Karter's movie day and other generous donations, we are over half way there. We are continuing to believe that God will provide the rest of the funding.

Monday, July 11, 2011


How can it be...5 years old...? Already???????????

It feels like just yesterday I was drinking gallons of raspberry leaf tea to speed up your arrival...but you held on until the very last silly monkey!

Karter James:::

There are many words that describe who you are. You are:
Easy Going
Full of love
Over comer...that is the word given to you by God!

You have touched the hearts of so many and moved them to such love for you. Although you have never spoken a physical word, who you are and what you have and continue to overcome, draws people to you. I know I have said it before, but it really is the truth; you have taught me more than anyone else on this earth. You taught me who I was and who I could be in spite of things not going as I planned them. There is a very special place in my heart for you. You are my son, and no matter what, I will always be here for you in whatever capacity you need me.

This year is shaping up to be one that is full of blessings that are far beyond anything we ever imagined. Full of miracles we could have never dreamed and bursting with new adventures that will take you places we can only witness as they play out. God has put the most caring team in place for you, you have and never will go without the best!

You are an inspiration to many. You rest in the arms of Jesus and He has held you close all the way through the roller coaster of the past 5 years. You are more than I ever dreamed in a son and I am so proud of you. My love for you unconditional and so full, I fear it will one day explode out of my heart!

Happy Birthday my precious boy! You are a treasure straight from heaven to my heart. I love you!


Saturday, July 9, 2011

Karter's 5th Birthday - Bowling Party

Karter’s “friends” party was a bowling party. It was the first time we had done something other than a home type party. Since Karter had taken a liking to bowling, we thought it would be fun to do and something that he could take part in. The bowling alley supplied the hot dog and drink and I brought a few snacks for the parents to munch on thek ids to enjoy before we ate and while they bowled in the first hour. I made Monkey cupcakes and I was pretty happy with how cute they looked.

Due to the nature of the party and the age of the kids, we asked that parents stayed to help out and thus included the older siblings. There were 17 kids in total, so we took up four lanes of bowling; two for the younger kids 2 for the older siblings. The kids really seemed to enjoy the bowling; especially the older kids. Some of the parents told me it was their child’s first time bowling – how fun! The younger kids enjoyed it, but it was hard for some of them to understand turn taking, so at times it was a bit chaotic and there were a few tears.

For Karter...well, let’s just say this was not his day, poor guy. He bowled one turn and was done. He was not happy in the surroundings, we think in the end he just got overwhelmed and over stimulated. The music was quite loud and there was a lot of chaos. Between Kurt and I, we tried to make him happy but nothing seemed to do the trick; he spent most of the party in our arms of lying on the bench.In the end, the hour and a half went by really quickly and was a bit of a gong show (smile). We fed the kids at different times, we never really ended up praying for the food (I think God will understand) and then in the end we just quickly sang “Happy Birthday” so Kurt could take Karter out to the van (where incidentally he calmed down immediately) while I tried to get the goodie bags handed out and the party wrapped up. It was totally frantic in the end and if you know me...well let’s just say I like things a bit more in control – hahaha! But as we like to say in our house “It is what it is!”

After it was all over, Kurt and I talked about it and really, all the kids had a good time and they celebrated Karter and that was what mattered. It was another reminder that we can plan and plan yet we have to flow with it when it does not go our way. So not a perfect party and not the way I envisioned it for Karter, but in the end, it was a celebration of Karter’s 5th birthday, with the people who are in his life and who care for him, so we have to say it was successful.Happy 5th birthday my boy! We love you so much.
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Thursday, July 7, 2011

Karter's Family Party - The BIG 5!

What a great night we had! The weather was gorgeous which made for a wonderful evening in the backyard. The food (although WAY too much of it!) turned out really great. You can check out the pictures below. Lemon meringue pie at Kurt's request, mini cupcakes for Karter and various other confections to enjoy!

Karter had a great night! He was so happy and really enjoyed all of the action going on.

We sang "Happy Birthday" to Karter and he started to giggle. So we sang again, actually we sang three times because it was so cute! He then enjoyed his cupcake...

Here is the evidence of that...

And the gifts...a great new pair of kidz banz and some money to go shopping for something that he really needs.

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Friday, July 1, 2011

Birthday Party Planning

June flew past me in a flash. With the calendar flipped to July, I am in high gear trying to plan Karter's birthday party for his friends and the one for the family.

Since Karter enjoyed bowling so much when we went, we decided that this year we would do a bowling party. I normally do a home party or swim party since the weather is usually so nice. However, this year I figured he would really be able to take part in the bowling party.

I love making the cake, I actually think that is my very favorite part of having birthday parties. I like being creative and seeing how far I can push myself. I looked for some bowling cake ideas but was not really thrilled with any of them. I have decided to go with Monkey cupcakes instead. Yes, I know it has nothing to do with bowling, but we always call Karter our little Monkey, so it is fitting.

The bowling alley will be providing the food - hot dogs and slushies. I will bring the cupcakes and that should take care of it. I am not sure I have ever had such an easy party for him. I almost feel like I am cheating ;-)...

The family party...we are combining that with Kurt's birthday since they are only 4 days apart. Kurt has asked for lemon meringue pie; I will make that for him. There is no real theme for that night, just fun!

I plan to make a few fun things. I saw this cute little chocolate dipped marshmallow treats, I thought I would do those

and for the cakes...I thought mini cupcake pops would be cute. In boy colors of course!

I also made this recipe of caramel pop corn for a girls nite once at it was a hit, so I think I will make that and pop it in individual brown bags for eatin'.

For the savory lovers, I plan to make a sun dried tomato, goat cheese and pesto flat bread. I had it at a restaurant once and I copied the recipe. That should do it for food.

So I plan to make my list today, get the goodies over the weekend and start creating on Monday. I love a party and more than that, I love to celebrate the ones I love! Stay tuned for pictures of the result.

Sunday, June 26, 2011


On the last day of preschool I made sure to get a couple of pictures of Karter with Kelly his SEA. We were so thankful to have her this to support Karter at preschool. Thank you Kelly for everything, we will miss you! Good luck in all your future endeavors and blessings to you and your family (looking forward to hearing all about baby number 2)!

On the last day of preschool I made sure to get a couple of pictures of Karter with Kelly his SEA. We were so thankful to have her this to support Karter at preschool. Thank you Kelly for everything, we will miss you! Good luck in all your future endeavors and blessings to you and your family (looking forward to hearing all about baby number 2)!

Saturday, June 25, 2011

Preschool Graduation

Karter's graduation was such a great night! The kids sang a number of songs, received their diplomas and a slide show of the years events was played at the end. After the ceremony was over, there was a lovely reception in the gym.

Here are a few pictures of the night.