Tuesday, January 29, 2013

A little motivation

Owen has found his motivation to walk in his gait trainer. As with any three year old, he had to come up with it himself.

He loves ball ball (basketball). Logan received a 54" outdoor hoop for Christmas. We play basketball outside everyday the weather is nice (which is quite a bit this winter). On MLK all the boys were out of school. Nathan had speech therapy and Logan asked if someone could please babysit him instead of having to tag along. Luckily for him, both my parents had the day off. I dropped both he and Owen off at my parents. They ate lunch and Owen napped while Logan played. Just before they were to get in the car to come home Logan asked if he could bring the Little Tikes basketball hoop that was his as a little kid back to our house. Most of the time I tell him no because our house is so small but this time I decided to say yes and just plan to keep it outside. Once we got it back here, and Logan was showing me his slam dunks, I decided to lower it all the way and see what Nathan and Owen could do. They love playing and throwing the ball in the basket. It has now become a permanent fixture in our house. Owen will walk all the way across the room to get to it!!

Saturday, January 26, 2013

Getting closer

We are getting closer to our trip to Lebanon...only 5 weeks away. Two exciting things happened this week. Three passport for three young boys arrived. Logan's first passport expired last July (kids under 18 passports are only good for 5 years). We also have purchased our plane tickets. We are flying Atlanta to London to Beirut, British Airways the entire journey. Now we need to call them to work out all the logistics of equipment. We are so excited. It will be here before we know it!


We enjoyed another Upward Basketball game! Next week is our last game and we will miss this fun Saturday morning activity. Logan is working hard and improving. Stars are given at each game in different areas. Logan has received a star for: most Christ-like, sportsmanship, defense, offense, and best effort. He is so proud of his stars an they are ironed on to the uniform. He has really enjoyed all the support from friends and family.

Circus x2

We had the opportunity to enjoy the circus twice this week. First, we joined Nathan and Owen on their preschool field trip. Everyone had a wonderful time and the boys really enjoyed their first bus ride. Friday night we went to the circus with some friends from Preston's office. We also enjoyed the pre-party with all the free food, candy, inflatables and meeting the cast. We had a blast and can't wait until next year.

Saturday, January 19, 2013

Busy Saturday!

We had a wonderful Saturday! It started off with an Upward Basketball game. Logan's kindergarten teacher, Miss Zachow, came to watch his game. He was very excited!

After the game we headed to The Bell Center for the boys to work on the graduation legacy piece. They are making a big painting that all 2013 Bell Center graduates have a part in painting.

In the afternoon while Nathan and Owen napped and Preston worked on the brakes for the van, Logan and I had a fun afternoon outing. Our first stop was Yogurt Mountain. We then headed to Toys R Us to get a new car for his Cars collection. Finally we played for a while together at Overton Park.

After dinner we attended the Westminster homecoming basketball game. All the home games are played at Samford which makes it nice and close for us. As soon as we got there a few kids in Logan's class spotted him so he was up in the bleachers playing with them. We sat close by but let him just have fun with his friends. At half time there were a few people selected to try 3 point shots. One of the people they brought out there was Mrs. Keeler, Logan's principal. When Logan saw her out there he ran across the court and she opened her arms wide open and they gave each other a big hug. Later in the game we saw him sitting on her lap for several minutes. Some little souvenir balls were thrown into the stands. Mrs Keeler caught one and gave it to Logan - which he thought was supper cool.

We all had a wonderful Saturday together. If only it could have been longer.

Thursday, January 10, 2013

A Significant Life

Today Preston and I had the privilege of eating lunch with a new friend who is very interested in our trip.  He is from Lebanon and is also the cousin of the man who is the owner of the new school Preston is designing.  Our friend, Jon, told us the following story.

Eleven years ago he was asked to lead a funeral.  As part of the funeral he asked if anyone wanted to share a brief 30-45 second recollection of what this man meant in their life.  With tears in his eyes he continued to tell us that 45 minutes later people were still taking turns sharing their brief rememberence of the significance of this man.  He said this was a God defining moment of his life.  To be able to touch people with that profound of an impact is certainly amazing.

Three years ago while back in Lebanon he was interviewed on television regarding the events of the funeral and life of the man who touched so many.  The man was his brother, Sam.  Sam had Down Syndrome.  At the time Sam was growing up, special needs kids were treated very differently than they are here.  Until very recently special needs kids were seen as a disgrace to the family and the family would not acknowledge their existence.  Jon told us most special needs kids were locked in a room and given bread and water to eat.  They would mess on themselves because no one would take care of them.  For centuries this was the treatment of all special needs people.  Sam's parents saw worth and value in him and he was not treated this way.  Fortunately this is now changing. Families are beginning to see worth in their special needs kids!

We feel God is giving us such a wonderful opportunity to minister to and with these families.  All our children are a perfect blessing from God and we are so privileged and honored to be a part of their lives!  We feel we are uniquely equipped for this task.  We are so honored and privileged that God is planning to use us.

On this journey, I am always amazed to see how many lives my boys touch.  I know they are significant in the lives of many.  The challenge to me is, am I living a life that is as significant as theirs?

Mission trip to Lebanon

We knew from the moment Nathan, Mia and Owen were born so early and began to face challenges that God was orchestrating these challenges in their lives not to create difficulty or because any of us had done anything wrong, but to ultimately bring glory to God with their unique story.  We have met many incredible  people on this journey and continue to pray for God to use our family — in it's entirety — to glorify His Name.

God is providing a unique opportunity for our entire family to use the gifts, talents and experiences He has given each of us to serve the people of Lebanon, through Engineering Ministries International (the same group Preston served with in Liberia last year).

EMi is serving the Lebanese Society for Educational and Social Development (LSESD). LSESD is a Lebanese NGO (non-governmental organization), founded in 1998.  Its goal is to "serve the Church in Lebanon and the Arab world through spiritual, social and educational development".  The society runs many dynamic programs such as the Arab Baptist Theological Seminary, the Beirut Baptist School, the Smart Kids with Individual Learning Differences (SKILD) Center as well as other children and youth ministries.

Preston will be the lead architect on the new SKILD School — a school for 500 students with an emphasis on serving students with special needs.  This school will provide amazing opportunities for educating children from Christian and non-Christian backgrounds.  It is impossible to grasp the extent of how God will use the school to serve students in general and special-needs students in particular over the coming years.  We are told that the emphasis on developing the full potential of children with special needs is ground-breaking in the Arab world.

Janelle will have the unique opportunity to meet with families of children with special needs and encourage them, share God's love, and exchange care-giving techniques.  In general, special-needs children in the region are seen more like teddy bears to carry around and love — or worse, are kept in their homes with very little outside exposure.  We hope to encourage families to find the potential in each of their children.  All three Hite three boys will be with us, busy loving and playing with the other typically-developed and special-needs children.  Having Nathan and Owen along also lends an incredible amount of credibility for reaching out to the families.

Our family will travel to Beirut from March 9-22.  We covet your prayers.  Please let us know if you would like to receive specific prayer requests and daily updates from our trip.  We want to have a core group of prayer partners who will agree to lift us up in prayer each day leading up to and during our trip.  If you would like to be part of that core prayer group, please let us know.

Traveling with all 5 of us will be quite an undertaking beyond normal airport travel, since we will have more equipment (gait trainers, modified strollers, etc) as well as Nathan having two cochlear implants with metal embedded in his head.  Your prayers are invaluable.  This is also a big financial undertaking:  The cost for all 5 of us to make the trip is $8,500.  But, we have felt very clearly that God chose us to go on this journey, and we know He will provide for the cost in many unpredictable ways.  If you feel God burdening your heart with the desire to be a part of this exciting work through a financial contribution, you can donate directly to our EMi account at https://emisecure.org/donate.html#  Then click on "Donate Now".  Under the "Make a Gift" section, click on "Give Now".  Under "categories and funds", click on the "please select one…" box and choose "Project Trip Volunteers."  In the "Subcategory" box, please choose 12018-Lebanon Beirut (there is more than one Lebanon, so be sure to get the Beirut trip).  Under "other category and/or Volunteer's Name", please put Hite Family (this is essential for your donation to be credited to our family's trip).

Thank you so much for joining us on this incredible journey of sharing God's love.

Preston, Janelle, Logan, Nathan and Owen

Wednesday, January 9, 2013

Logan and Oma

On Monday Logan had some special time with just Oma. He helped her at work for awhile and was also able to eat with her in the "lunch court". Oma was helping me by watching Logan while Preston and I had one final IEP meeting at the boys school to finalize their OT and PT goals.

Sunday, January 6, 2013

Owen is talking A LOT!

Just wanted to brag on Owen for a minute.  I am so proud of his increased vocabulary!  He is now counting to 10.  He knows his colors (red, brown, yellow, green and blue).  He knows tons of animal sounds (horse, cow, cat, dog, monkey, lion, bear, tiger, sheep and rooster).  He LOVES the Pete the Cat books and is able to finish lots of the sentences in his Pete The Cat "I love my white shoes" story.  He will also repeat just about any word you tell him.  He says "uh oh" when he drops something or knocks it off his tray, he asks for bites (which means food), his drink, games on the iPad, Mao Mao (Mickey Mouse), to go night night, etc.

Saturday, January 5, 2013

Nathan's hearing out of both ears!

On January 2nd Nathan's other Cochlear Implant processor was placed on his left ear.  He is now hearing out of both ears.  He did a wonderful job during his first mapping.  He has learned to turn his head when he hears a sound.  I believe the mapping of this implant will go much more quickly than the first implant.  We are going for mapping sessions (programming) once a week for the next four weeks.  By that time he should have a pretty accurate mapping.  We will then return every three months, just as we have been since he received his first implant, for the next several years.  We just tweak the mapping for the implants at these sessions.  Nathan already seems more vocal.  He has given us several really long / loud vocalizations (this is really good) and has said a few words, though haphazardly.

When choosing our cochlear implant company last year we went with the one that was most focused on  research and continually improving their product over the popular, more flashy brand.  We are only one of a few families in Birmingham with the Med-el brand implant.  This is a picture of Nathan's current implant. 
This spring Med-el is introducing a new cochlear implant configuration.  They are the only one of the three companies offering this new implant processor.  We are extremely excited about it and can't wait until it comes out.
 This disk will attach to the magnet in his head, just as the old one does, but there will be nothing over the ear.  This will pretty much eliminate Nathan's ability to pull it off.

Friends and Family Visits

We enjoyed spending lots of time with friends and family during the boys break.  We had lots of fun playing at the park, our house and eating lots of yummy lunches with friends at Zoe's (no complaints from me).  We spent some time in Huntsville with Preston's brother, Brian, and his family.  Logan, and cousin Evan, were inseparable.  They played very well together every moment.  Logan enjoyed learning to ride Evan's 4-wheeler.  I will admit, when the boys were done I took a few laps around the yard on the 4-wheeler too.

Frei Christmas

Please accept my apology in taking so long to update the blog.  Christmas afternoon we spent at my parents house.  Ranae, Philip and Cooper were visiting from Enterprise.  We all had a great time visiting together, opening presents and eating some yummy food.  After our three boys went to sleep Preston and I were able to slip out and watch Les Miserable with our friend Catrina.  We were go excited to see the movie.  We had been waiting for months...and it did not disappoint.