Sunday, December 4, 2016

A Month of Thankfulness

As we turned the calendar over to the hustle and bustle of the holidays in December, it reminded me that we haven't done a lot of blogs lately. It doesn't mean we haven't been busy, but we've been having too much fun and not enough time to share it all with everyone.

We are ALWAYS grateful for Grace snuggles!
We started the month with a routine check-up with Grace's neurologist at Children's Hospital in St. Louis. Although there's not really much to discuss, he spent a long time with us, and we know we have great support there when we need it. We also stopped by Washington University to see our friend, Dr. Kotzbauer and Zach Silvers, who are working tirelessly on research and funding for that particular INAD study.  Dr. Kotzbauer is always so kind and generous to make time for us when we are in St. Louis, and he said they continue to make good progress on the study.  Keep praying for that miracle!  Kyle and I both believe he and his team will  find something to help INAD kids someday.  We capped off the evening with a visit to Kyle's sister's house and dinner with his family.  It was a quick visit, but it's always just so nice to be together.

That weekend, we celebrated Grace's preschool class with a program at our church.  Once a year, the kids sing songs during the service, and it's always such a special time.  Even though Grace can't sing any of the songs, her face still lights up in a smile when it comes time for some of her favorites, which just melts my heart. She also really enjoyed seeing some of the kids in the afternoon class, who were in her class last year.  They all make a point to come and talk to her, and it's very special to us.

Grace and her friends singing in their preschool program.

We also celebrated Grace's great-grandma Nancy with a special ceremony with the Daughters of the American Revolution.  I became an official member this year in my grandma's honor, and they had a service at the cemetery to dedicate the DAR marker on her gravestone.  I'm even hoping Grace can join the DAR with me some day.

Celebrating Grace's great-grandma Nancy, and her dedication to the DAR.
November also means election month, and nearly every election we have voted in, we have taken Grace with us.  It's just important to us to do it together as a family, and we just enjoy taking Grace with us.  She did get to vote with her preschool class that morning, though. They voted on whether to have popcorn or cheeseballs for a snack that day. If only, all the choices in our elections were that easy.

This little "cheeseball" voted for popcorn in her class election.
At church on Sunday, it was time to pack shoeboxes as part of Operation Christmas child.  This year, Grace helped the other kids at our church pack 200 boxes to be sent to children all over the world.  She and I carefully picked a box and then I showed her all the items we were sending to some very special kids.  I picked purple things a lot, and Grace would just smile at me.  Somehow I think she knows how important that job was.

Grace loved helping me pack shoeboxes for Operation Christmas Child!
The middle of November brought us to Ice Cream Man, where I had an assignment.  Several weeks earlier I had done a story on an author who used to live in Litchfield and wrote a book on ice cream all over the world.  He was going to be signing copies in Litchfield, and taking the headache challenge, so we thought we would take Grace to meet him.  She even got her own signed copy of the book.  Ice cream has always been a bit of a special bond between Kyle and Grace, so it was really something fun to do together as a family.  And since Kyle had finished the headache challenge, he was especially excited to see that the author had signed Grace's book with a message that her daddy ate ice cream better than him.  We are always looking to share our story on this Grace-Filled Journey, and it was fun to meet the Ice Cream Gypsy.

Grace got her book signed by The Ice Cream Gypsy, Steve Simpson.
We also celebrated PaPa John's birthday that weekend!
 All too soon, it was time for Thanksgiving.  Ours started a little before the actual holiday with a program at Grace's preschool. Dressed as pilgrims and Indians, the kids sang a few Thanksgiving-themed songs and shared "thankful stew" with us after the program.  Our little Indian did a great job, and we were so excited to see her program.

Grace and cousin Izzy after their preschool program.

Family photo opportunity after Grace's program.
When the week of Thanksgiving rolled around, we felt grateful to share some wonderful memories with our families.  The night before, we enjoyed a quiet dinner with my mom and dad, before having lunch with Kyle's mom and dad and brother, Shane on Thanksgiving day. Before we headed for home, we stopped by my aunt and uncle's house to share a little Thanksgiving cheer there as well.

Sharing a meal with Grandma and Grandpa Galer before Thanksgiving.
Watching the Macy's Thanksgiving Day parade together!
Enjoying some of Grandma Kim's homemade pumpkin pie!
The end of the month even brought a date night for Grace's mom and dad.  It started with a basketball game for work, but ended with a trip to one of mommy's favorite restaurants, Bella Milano, and then a trip to the movies to see Fantastic Beasts.  We have really enjoyed reading Harry Potter to Grace, so it was fun to see the newest movie from the wizarding world.  Kyle and I feel very blessed to have the chance to enjoy a date night together every now and again.  It's always a lot of fun!

Date night selfie . . .
It was hard to believe how many things we did in November (I even had to look back through ALL the photos to remember).  But in this month of thankfulness, we are always so grateful for everyone who shares a special part of this Grace-Filled Journey.  


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