The lack of updates are for nothing else than a lack of time. Between school, taking the kids to and from activities 4 nights a week and all other things that life holds, time just keeps on ticking away. It's sad really, how utterly fast time keeps passing by.
Olivia turned 8 on October 1st. We had celebrated her birthday a few times and did so over Labor Day with Jeff's side of the family where Olivia got to celebrate with her best friend and cousin Makayla. They got a few BFF necklaces to share. :) Olivia and Makayla are still pen pals and Olivia absolutely loves to get letters from her in the mail. Even though their letter writing has slowed because summer is over, they still find time to write back and forth which is pretty sweet.
Olivia started dance back up in September so she attends classes every Monday and Thursday evening. She's the youngest girl in her Hip Hop class but she tries very hard and does her very best and has a lot of fun which is what's most important. In her Monday class, there are 4 girls and she does a great job of keeping up right along with them. This is her pre-competition dance group so she's looking forward to competing this spring.
This year, Olivia applied for and was awarded a 2017 recreation grant through the Cystic Fibrosis Lifestyle Foundation that is applied to her dance tuition. This is a pretty awesome foundation that you can read about by clicking the link above. This foundation puts a focus on exercise and physical activity as a means to improve life and longevity for those living with CF.
Olivia had to fill out an application and write an essay about why she feels she would benefit from receiving the grant. She was very proud of herself when she found out she was awarded the grant and we couldn't have been more proud of her too. Here's Olivia's essay:
"I would like to receive the Recreation grant so that I can get exercise and be healthy and not get my lungs sick. I like my dance classes because they are fun and I get exercise. This year I'm doing Hip Hop and Jazz and I get to wear fancy costumes to dance. I'm doing competition dance and I'm excited to perform on stage and a little nervous. I hope I win awards, trophies and medals. I love to dance! If I receive the grant to help pay for my dance classes then we can use my mom and dad's money for other things like maybe shopping and other fun stuff"
It's a pretty sweet essay she wrote and clearly shows her girly side and what's important to her, shopping! 😃
Over MEA break the weather was pretty nice so the kids and I spent some time outside ATVing and dirt biking and just enjoying the time away from school and classes. Landen has also developed a love for playing football so the 4 of us will usually play some form of catch or touch football everyday at least for a little bit when the weather and time permits. Landen and Jeff play catch in the living room, knocking down the popcorn ceiling in the process, however I'll allow it, until something that matters gets broken.
Halloween this year was so utterly cold and awful, the kids had to wear snowsuits under their costumes and we literally hit up about 4 houses in the neighborhood and headed back home. After all, it certainly isn't for a need of candy as we always have plenty leftover at our house, it's just the act of getting out and trick or treating. This year Olivia was a witch and Landen, continues to grow up too fast and he was a creepy hazmat zombie character.
As Halloween is one of my favorites, I always like to have the entire family dress up. Landen found Jeff a Bob Ross costume to wear. Both Jeff and I occasionally watched Bob Ross paint his "Happy Trees" as we were growing up and given the fact that Bob Ross was such a remarkable artist, Jeff obliged. I'm a sucker for couple's costumes so I told Jeff I'd be his painting/masterpiece.
My costume turned out to be one of the cheapest Halloween costumes yet. I bought a piece of foam board for a few dollars and using the kids paint brushes and paints, I crafted my own Bob Ross inspired "Happy Trees" painting by watching a video of him on you tube and painting away as Bob instructed. It was pretty fun. After I had finished it I texted Jeff a picture and his response was "Where did you get that?" I could read the cringe in his voice as if to ask me how much money I spent on it. When I told him I painted it myself, he didn't believe me, luckily the kids were my proof that I did. Jeff told me I missed my calling. Maybe someday I'll have time to sit around and paint happy trees; my stress, anxiety and blood pressure I have no doubt would be much lower, but for now, no more paintings in my near future.
Into November, more school and more after school activities. We anxiously counted down the days to Thanksgiving when we got another break from school. I was looking forward to eating good food, watching football especially since the Vikings were playing and are doing good this year and doing a whole lot of nothing. We ended up playing a lot of games, pictionary is the kids' new favorite and of course we spent time outside playing football. It was a quiet holiday, spent quietly at home but all was good.
Now it's almost December and our Elf on the Shelf has made his grand return to our household along with a new reindeer friend to play elf games with the kids all season long. We also start up the advent calendar this Friday which Olivia reminds me daily that I better finish up! So crazy to believe that Christmas is right around the corner, it feels like we just ended summer! It's sure to be a fun season with many fond memories to cherish. We are all looking forward to watching our puppy Sammy on Christmas morning, tear open what Jeff and I think will be everyone's Christmas gifts!
Olivia had an appointment at Children's for the research study she's been enrolled in for 2 years. She is nearing completion of it and has just 6 months left which are composed of 2 more visits. We enjoy our visits with our research coordinator, so it'll be sad to finish up the study in that regard but we will continue to participate in future studies that open up for Olivia to partake in.
Olivia goes back for her next CF Follow up in a few weeks. After the doozy of an appointment/tests that were her September appointments, it's sure to be an interesting one. She has been doing very well with her weight so that is good and since her glucose is considered "impaired" we have been eliminating most sugary sweets from Olivia's diet and when she does get sweet treats, we try to pair them with high fat foods. When the kids do get soda pop for a treat we have switched hers to diet. Such a scam and so frustrating all that CFRD will entail but I've continued to tell Olivia that we will do what we can now and just keep pushing on and deal with the official diagnosis when it arises. I've also told her there is nothing she could do to change it and it's not her fault. I remind her that given I had gestational diabetes with both her and Landen, the odds of myself getting diabetes are great and I'll probably get my diabetes before she does or shortly thereafter. This calms her a bit but, still another pile of shi* in an already overflowing bag for this girl, it gets to be too much for her some days. At least we have this time when she's in the "impaired zone" to somewhat prepare for what lies ahead with CFRD.
On that note, I'll leave you with this.
Olivia and Landen are very different children. When Olivia was fortunate enough to be able to attend kindergarten at public school, she was a people person, everyone was her friend and she loved it. She's very outgoing, she loves people and pleasing people. Landen on the other hand is more like Jeff and I, an introvert, but Olivia, she is not. Both kids enjoy home school but it's not quite the same for social interaction.
Everyday Olivia awaits the arrival of the mail truck with the hope that she'll have a letter in the mail from Makayla, or her pen pal in school or a magazine to look at, anything really. The look of pure joy on Olivia's face when she receives something, coupled with a sprint back to the house is precious. The look of sadness when there is nothing in the mail for her, pains my heart. Over the holiday weekend she'd endlessly check her school email to see if her pen pal had responded. Both Jeff, I and Darci have begun to email her which she really enjoys and I've told Jeff that I am about ready to write her letters anonymously and mail them so that she can get a letter in the mail more often. Time is something she doesn't quite understand, in the regard that not everyone has an endless amount of time to receive a letter from her and write back immediately. However, this simple joy that a letter can bring to Olivia is too good not to share with those of you out there that care.
For anyone who would like to write Olivia a letter and bring happinessto her this holiday season, I can promise you two things.
1) You will bring an enormous amount of joy to her face when she receives a letter in the mail
2) She will run with her letter back into the house, tear it open meticulously, read it with a smile on her face and then head up to her room to write and draw pictures back to you, the person whom she got a letter from.
*If you'd like to write a letter to Olivia via the mail and need our mailing address or would like to email her and need he email address, please email me at email@example.com and I will get you the information.
Until next time, Happy Holidays!