Mother Nature dumped about eight inches of snow on us this weekend, and I have to say it was nice to have an excuse to stay home all weekend long. We enjoyed snuggling and playing with the girls. Grace and I are almost finished reading the last of the Harry Potter books, and Charley and I went sledding in the front yard and built a snowman.
It's only two weeks into the new year, but we're already making memories and celebrating another year to be together.
And as we turn the calendar over to 2019, we also stop and remember that 2018 was pretty great too. It was a year of firsts and new adventures and lots of chances to raise awareness for INAD.
One of our favorite firsts was celebrating Charlotte's first birthday. And there isn't anyone who enjoyed birthday cake more than her that day. It was so much fun to watch her eat cake and open presents, and celebrate her being part of our family. It's hard to even remember what life was like before this little spitfire was born.
|Charlotte's first birthday party|
Also in February, we had a big chance to raise more awareness for INAD, as Congressman Rodney Davis gave a speech on the floor of Congress in honor of Rare Disease Day. I can't say that we watch CSPAN very often, but we sure were glued to the TV that night. We've had a couple of chances to meet with him since then, and of course give him his own A Grace-Filled Journey scarf. We look forward to the chance to work together with Congressman Davis again in 2019.
|Congressman Rodney Davis helped us raise awareness for INAD this year|
Spring and summer brought a few more INAD awareness events, visiting with students at Morrisonville High School, the Hunt to Beat INAD at a Purdue Northwest softball game and the fourth annual Grace Cup soccer game. We continue to be blessed by all those who share our story with others and invite Grace to be part of some really amazing events.
|2018 Grace Cup|
This summer also brought a special family vacation to Washington DC. We got to stop and eat at some fun places on the drive out there, and spend time with my brother and his wife for the week. We took in some historic sites and watched Charley learn how to climb down stairs and on top of chairs. Oh, and she threw up on the Metro, which was an adventure in itself. We had a chance to meet one of Grace's former doctors at the National Institute of Health and visit with one of Kyle's cousins and her family on the drive home and go swimming at the top of a mountain. It was a really special week for us to be together.
|The Capital in Washington DC|
|Swimming on the mountain top in West Virginia|
Fall brought the return of school for Grace, where she is once again part of Mrs. Paden's kindergarten class for four afternoons a week. She loves reading Junie B. Jones and having puppet shows with her friends at school. It's absolutely amazing to watch the kids interact with her, and we feel so blessed she has the opportunity to participate in school.
|Grace's first day of school|
Halloween brought in the clowns, as Charley and Grace donned clown costumes for the event. Charley wore a Raggedy Ann and Andy clown costume that my grandma made for me when I was her age. Grace also wore it when she was a toddler, which made for some fun photos. And we managed to find a clown costume for Grace too, even though most of the clown costumes in the stores are for killer clowns and zombie clowns. Seems like there's never a dull moment.
|Grace's seventh birthday|
Winter brought Thanksgiving and Christmas, and lots of time with family. As our three nephews grow up, it's fun to watch all the cousins interact together, and we know they will be great friends someday. We feel blessed to live so close to both of our families and that we have lots of chances to spend time together throughout the year.
|Christmas 2018 (at Grace Meat+Three in St. Louis)|
As we turned the calendar over to the new year, we know that 2019 will likely bring some big challenges, but also some big blessings. Charlotte will turn two in just a few weeks and Grace will turn eight later this fall. Kyle and I will celebrate ten years of marriage with a special trip in February, and we hope to have lots of chances to raise more awareness and funding for the INADCure Foundation.
Thanks to everyone who continues to follow and share our story with others. We hope to make each and every day memorable in 2019!