Christmas Letter

Winter Destinations

Merry Christmas to all our dear friends and family!! We hope this has been a wonderful year for you and that you are ending it on a note of joy, peace, and love.

It has been one heck of year here in the Rudisill house. I do not even know where to begin…..I guess we’ll just dive right in. Hang onto your hats, it is one crazy ride.

2017 started with us just starting to settle into life here in Grand Rapids, we had been officially living in Michigan for only five months. In that time we had been trying to find new therapy places for the kids and we had just found a place that would be life changing for our family. There is an amazing place called Family Tree Therapies here in GR and I could not even begin to tell you how amazing this place has been for us. All five of the younger kids go there for speech and occupational therapies. The therapist are tremendous and so invested in the kids and their approaches are at the forefront of the fields and work amazing with our kids. More about the progress the kids have made there in a bit.

The big insanity at the beginning of 2017 was my hysterectomy. I had been having a lot of pain for years, and it had gotten to the point it was debilitating. The only way to offer relief was to just remove all the organs causing problems. This was adventurous because of the five tiny humans who need a lot of care during the day and this surgery was going to involve a long recovery period. Additionally, there was the emotional process of closing this chapter. It was a circus from beginning to end, and involved kids popping stitches and me developing a post surgical infection. The pain is gone though and was well worth it but I am ok never having to do that again.

For me personally the other big adventures of the year involved a lot of self discovery, relationships falling apart and others growing and deepening. A long saga of a faith crisis, that I only recently realized can only be resolved by me honoring both parts of myself- I would say I’m a mixed religion now that is unique to myself. The Lord and I are on the same page, and that’s all that matters. I started this blog, started writing prisoners, fell in love with herbology, and started our local Charcot-Marie-Tooth Association Branch. I’ve made new friends, missed my friends back home, and suffered painful betrayals.

This last month has been the longest of the year. At the beginning of December I found a breast lump that had us and the doctors worried. After testing we learned that I am cancer free, thank the Lord, but that was a terrifying experience to have as Mom and wife and for our entire family. It’s been a long year that I couldn’t begin to explain but these are the highlights.

Tyler started the year working third shift in Lansing, an hour drive away. To say we were not a fan of the third shift life would be putting it very mildly. He worked hard though and was eventually moved to second shift. This has turned out to be the perfect schedule for our family. Tyler’s hard work was further honored by a promotion at work this year. Tyler works tirelessly to support our family and I am so thankful for everything he does. This year was also unusual because Tyler and I got to go on THREE dates. That’s more in one year than the previous three years combined. Yay love.

Life has been sure to keep my handy man busy with basically everything we own breaking in some way. We had three major car breakdowns this year, not to count minor car repairs that cropped up throughout the year. We had a hot water heater leaking carbon monoxide into our home that had to be repaired. We had three floods in the basement and various other things break, get stolen, or otherwise cause chaos. Not to mention the van window being smashed out by a teenager with a rock.

We had fun travels and visitors this year as well. We got to go up to Mackinaw for a day trip and back home to West Virginia for a week. We had visits from our Henry family, Tyler’s parents and my best friend, Holly, and family. Time with our loved ones in priceless and brings us endless joy.

The kids have also had quite the adventurous year. Our oldest daughter Kaitlyn, officially became our oldest daughter just this week (December 12, 2017) when the judge signed her official adoption decree. This brings us so much joy, but as with all adoptions there is also a shadow of sadness about what our girl has had to endure to get us all to this point. She is a warrior. Kaitlyn also graduated from Shippensburg University with a degree in Education. Shortly after graduation she moved to Orlando, Florida to chase her dreams and find her bliss in life. We miss her daily but we know she has to carve her own path in this life and we are proud to be cheering her on from the sidelines.

Damien has grown so much this year. He is really coming into his own. He is plugging away at homeschool and makes progress every hard worked day. This year he was diagnosed with anxiety, an attachment disorder, and a sensory processing disorder. He has started counseling and began occupational therapy, both of which are helping immensely. He has mastered riding his tricycle, and is very close to learning to read. He loves God so much it is breathtaking to observe and his faith moves and inspires me every day.

Perry is still the king of imagination here. His inner world is huge and he is more than willing to invite you along for the ride. In Perry’s world dragons roam, castles need to be protected, and he is a super hero (he has that part right). This year has involved a lot of learning for Perry. He was diagnosed with ADHD on top of his SPD this year and after a developmental assessment we learned he most likely also has a visual and auditory processing disorder. This means we have to get inventive with the learning techniques and he is always so willing to try and work hard.

Caleb’s year has been hard but beautiful. He was officially diagnosed with CMT and Autism this year and began more focused interventions for those things. He has been attending endless therapies where he works his tail off. He has also taught himself to read (yes at 4) showing us that he is in fact hyperlexic. He started the year completely nonverbal and now has a handful of phrases he uses to communicate and he is adding new ones every week. This fall found us having to rush to the hospital a few times due to breathing complications from his Asthma, Chronic Lung Disease, and his CMT impacting his lungs already.

Alizé has made the most progress of the bunch this year. She started the year with us almost never being able to understand what she was saying. This year we learned that she has Apraxia of speech and she began speech therapy. It has done wonders. She still talks in her own language occasionally and uses a lot of approximations but the majority of people can carry on conversations with her which is a HUGE improvement. She is still our diva girl and spends most of her time in tutus, dresses and fairy wings.

Oliver is the one, the child who may cause my hair to turn completely white. Haha. He is six kids in one. If you look away for a second he is climbing the mantel, trying to break out of the house and run in traffic, smuggling eggs out of the fridge to smash on the carpet under the table, or flooding the house. He never stops and provides endless entertainment with his antics and his ability to bust out the dimples as soon as he is caught. He also was diagnosed with Apraxia of Speech this year and is in speech therapy. He is not saying much more than “Apple” but he is working hard. He also began occupational therapy after being diagnosed with a sensory processing disorder and for showing early signs of ADHD (although he is too young to know for sure).

That’s a snap shot of the big events of our year. There were countless others that made this year a whirlwind. There were a lot of ups and even more downs this past year but we are so thankful we get to be on the ride. This year taught us a lot, and helped us all grow in new ways. We are thankful for every second we have together and for all the love that surrounds us. We are also endlessly thankful for each and every one of you and all you bring to our lives.

Please be sure to drop us a line and let us know how your 2017 has been. We love you all.

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