Wednesday, February 5, 2014

Wow! Really? September 2012 since an update? I guess with the invention of Facebook, people stay connected through social media these days. I don't feel like I haven't shared Lilly for a year and a half! Let's see if I can bring everyone up to speed with life in the Ecklund house.

 Gunnar started Junior High this year as a 7th grader. Amazing how fast time slips away from you! He is now taller than me and will be gaining on his dad once the hormones kick in, I'm sure. He has turned into quite the comedian and enjoys that role. He doesn't think we are completely stupid yet(that's why I don't think the hormones have kicked in!) and still enjoys hanging with his parents. He has a growing interest in all things military, so prayers for this momma can start now. This past summer, Gunnar went to his first church camp(kicking and screaming), loved it and is now active in the youth group at our church. Pretty cool when you can have conversations about Jesus with your 13 year old! They give you a whole new perspective. Needless to say, we are pretty proud of the young man he is growing into!

Craig is a manager at Arby's, but now at the Nixa location. He is coming up on his 4 year anniversary. Craig is hoping to find another job outside the day to day restaurant setting so he can have a more structured schedule for our family. He has recently given up one of his days off to take Lilly to out patient therapy while I am in school. They have really enjoyed their time together in this setting and I appreciate him taking over for me!

In the fall, I was accepted into OTC's Physical Therapist Assistant program. We started in January and it has been a ride! I have never been so excited to go to school before. The first week, I think I cried everyday from the happiness of being around 24 other people who loved to talk about the same things I did. I will graduate in May 2015 with an associates degree and ready to work! I think I want to do pediatrics, but I am trying to keep an open mind as I go through my training. All I know is I am in awe of God's providence over our lives up to this point. There were times when I thought I wouldn't be able to pull through, but that is when God had the opportunity to shine. And SHINE BRIGHTLY, He did!

And now to the star of the show, Miss Lilly! She is just fantastic, as always! We are so blessed to have such a happy girl. She started 2nd grade this year and loves school. She has two wonderful teachers this year, Ms. Johnson and Ms. Mundinac. Ms. Johnson, her 2nd grade teacher, tries to include Lilly in as much as possible in her classroom. She encourages the other children to develop relationships with Lilly and the other children in the special education department. Ms. Mundinac, her special education teacher, is new this year. We love her and she loves her students! Ms. Mundinac has taught Lilly so much this year already and can always see her potential, even before we do. Lilly has learned a sign for "yes" and is working on using the Ipad for communication. She is constantly making progress in this area. They have Fun Friday where they bake and have Ms. Mundinac's therapy dog come in to play with the kids. She has even carved out time for some of Lilly's 2nd grade friends to spend one-on-one time with her. This has been such a wonderful thing to witness. Friendships are so important for this mommy to see fostered.

Lilly's health has been good this year for the most part, but she has started having seizures. For the last couple of years, Lilly has had only one seizure per year. This summer, they started coming about every three months, but from December to January, she has had 4. Of course we are concerned, but we are trusting in God's protection and plan for Lilly. She will be having an EEG next week and a MRI in a couple weeks to see if these tests show any changes from the previous ones. We appreciate your prayers. Seizures are such a scary thing to witness. No child, no adult should have to experience these episodes.

Oh!! I almost forgot to tell you about the most exciting part of 2013!!! Lilly was chosen as a Wish Kid and received a wish from Make-a-Wish! If you know Lilly, her wish is of no surprise. In July, they finished a 24 ft above ground pool, with deck, in our back yard. We can not express our gratitude enough! For the first time my kids go out to the back yard and play together! Throw a life jacket on Lilly and away she goes! She loves for Gunnar to swim under her and pick her up and throw her in the air. It is the best gift anyone could have ever given our family.

Speaking of gifts....we want to thank the Colo-Nesco National Honor Society for choosing Lilly as the recipient of their 2014 Dodgeball Tournament! This is a small community in Iowa and our best friends, The Sarvers, are from there. Their beautiful daughter, Kylie, contacted us and wanted to do this for Lilly. Kylie's little sister, Erica, was one of Lilly's first friends and her mom, Joanna, and I became fast friends while the girls were in PT and HBOT in Kansas City. Erica has since passed away, but she has left a huge legacy that her family carries on. The money from the tournament will purchase Lilly her very own Ipad and communication app, so she can continue to work on school stuff at home. This will make a lasting impact on Lilly's future! Can't thank you enough!
Well I think that wraps it up. Hopefully, most of you have kept up through Facebook. I will try to do better, but no guarantees! Take care and God bless!

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