As always, lots of craziness at the Staffenhagen Compound. This year we want to reflect on the upcoming year and share some Highlights from 2014. This quote is a great one to send us into 2015.
“For I know the plans I have for you,” declares the
LORD, “plans to prosper you and not to harm you,
plans to give you hope and a future.”
We are eagerly anticipating 2015. We are hoping changes will find us in a better place. We are hoping for medical advances for our Wyatt. We are hoping for health and happiness for our children. We are hoping to have Americans seeing a bright future. We are hoping that anyone who is struggling financially, medically or emotionally finds clarity this year. Most of all, we are hoping, to slow our lives down and spend more time with our kiddos. Our “big kids” are establishing their own lives, and we don’t want to miss an opportunity to just be a family, to enjoy being together, more than we do now. Our goal would be all 6 of the kids home, at least once a week, so we can stay connected. Sooner than later our kids are going to be moving on and creating their own families. We have always been a close family, but now more than ever, we need to stay close. Ultimately, if we can count on each other we can accomplish anything. Life is crazy, fast, busy, and full of so many commitments, we would like to lead a more relaxed, restful lifestyle. Oh stop laughing……….slow down with 6 kids, yeah right, it’s a lofty wish I guess……..hahahahaha
Leigha turned 20 this year, adulthood, whether we like it or not. We are so incredibly blessed to have an amazing daughter like her. She is generous, kind, caring and so very considerate of others. We get comments all the time on what an amazing girl she is. We are so proud of our daughter. She’s beautiful inside and out. We don’t know why we were so lucky to be picked to be her parents. She is everything we could have hoped to have in a daughter. We can’t wait to see where 2015 takes her. Although we will miss her more than we can ever imagine, we are so excited for her. She is ready to build a life for herself.
Anthony turned 18 this year. We had a pretty low key celebration, just the way Anthony likes it. As funny as it sounds, the highlight of the day was his birthday cake. Anthony doesn’t even like cake. It was a bunch of cupcakes made to look like Mega Man, a character from the Mega Man video game. The biggest news for him, is that he started his Senior Year of High School. He has been going to WAVA, online school, since he was in 6th grade. We can’t believe how quickly 7 years has gone. He had so many strikes against him, but he is done so well. He currently has a 3.8 cumulative GPA. We are so proud of all his hard work. It makes us emotional just thinking about how so many people wrote him off. Basically told us he wouldn’t get very far, probably not even finish HS. Well, in June all those people will be proven wrong.
Travis is finally at the High School, no more Cavelero for him, YES! Being at the High school suits him. He just fit right in no problem. He’s a sophomore and before we know it, he will be a Senior too. All our “big kids” are growing up way to fast. All 3 of them are taller than Melissa now. Travis played boys and girls club basketball and his team won the entire thing. When they won the championship, the boys ran to the lake and jumped in. It was February, with snow on the ground, but they didn’t care. The coach even joined them in the frigid celebration. He played school baseball as well as baseball with American Legion. Probably one of the coolest things he got to do this summer was go to Chicago to play baseball with his old coach and some of his previous teammates. It was quite a trip. He traveled with another family and we stayed home. It was pretty hard to let him go, Melissa cried a little, but we knew what an incredible opportunity it was. Playing baseball for a week in Chicago, how cool is that? On the way home, he was bumped up to First Class, lucky kid. This is a trip he will never forget.
Brady is now 9 years old. He is in 4th grade and doing very well. He enjoys reading and learning about History. He is also extremely creative. He says he wants to be a “movie maker” when he grows up. Last year it was author, maybe he’ll write screenplays. He keeps us guessing and always on our toes. He has an incredible sense of humor. And we’ve recently learned that he has the weakest stomach of all time. He gets grossed out by everything. A drop of blood and the boy practically passes out. Our guess, no medical school for Brady, haha. He has become such a big kid practically overnight. He tries so hard to help with Wyatt and Carter as much as he can. We are looking for some clarity for Brady in 2015, keep him in your thoughts for resolution to some pretty tough stuff he is dealing with.
Wyatt, our sweet Wyatt, our warrior, the bravest kid we know. Wyatt is now 6 years old. He lost is first tooth several weeks ago, but sadly, he swallowed it. So the tooth fairy got a note, not a tooth. We were not going to go look for it, yuck!!!!!! Another huge change for Wyatt, he started a new school about 1 month ago. He was attending WAVA online, but after several conversations with his doctors and his new teachers, we’ve learned that WAVA isn’t the best fit for Wyatt. We are in the process of completing some testing to determine how to best move forward with Wyatt’s education. We are feeling great about his new school. Both the teachers have excellent reputations. We are thrilled he was able to attend this school. It’s very small about 2 or 3 kids per grade. It’s perfect for Wyatt. It’s a nurturing, understanding environment where his differences are celebrated. He is with 2 women who care about Wyatt and their other 19 students as if they were their own children. Sometimes the right person, or right situation just falls in your lap. That is what has happened here. These women are like none we have ever met. We feel like God knew we were at the end of our ropes and we didn’t know where to go. Then angel Jill and angel Jennifer came into our lives (thanks Dr. Jenna) just when Wyatt needed them most. In the 4 weeks Wyatt has attended this school there has been some serious adjustments for him. He misses Mama a lot. It hasn’t been all balloons and confetti, that’s for sure. He read us a book for the first time a couple of weeks ago. He couldn’t read anything, not a single word, 4 weeks ago. He loves school and clearly something is working. Wyatt takes most of his frustration out on poor Miss Jennifer, but she isn’t backing down. She may even start tutoring him in January.
On the Duchenne front, Wyatt is doing amazing. He had a check-up in June with Dr. Wong in Ohio, and she is thrilled with how he is doing. His physical strength is great, as well as his heart and lungs. We are so blessed that he is so strong. Duchenne is a miserable, EVIL disease and our Warrior is fighting it with all he has. Promising things are on the horizon for our Duchenne community. Keep all the boys, young men and even a group of girls in your thoughts. Medical advances are coming, please oh please let 2015 be our year to End Duchenne.
Last but certainly not least, baby Carter. NOT really a baby anymore, he’s 3 going on 15. He is a hurricane running through the house. He attends preschool, which he LOVES. We wish he could go every day of the week. He is so so so very smart. In fact he tried to help Wyatt “cheat” on a test. Carter kept giving Wyatt the answers before Wyatt had a chance to answer. Funny, funny kid. He is quite the personality. We see a lot of Melissa’s grandpa “Papa” in him. Melissa shot a video of Carter last week for his two best friends, Abby and Brooklyn. He just kept saying over and over “Hello Gorgeous!” It was hilarious. He’s quite the player, 2 girlfriends at such a young age. Geez, what are we in for? Carter in just the last 3 or 4 days finally decided that diapers weren’t for him. So far so good, and after this no more diapers for us. YOOHOO!!!! 2o years of diapers (only about 3 year break in the early 2000’s), $48,000 later, and we are almost done. Not sure what we will do, we will probably have baby aisle withdrawals. NOT!!!!!! Carter brought joy to our family at a time of such sadness and pain. God sent us this child, this miracle baby, exactly when we needed him. He is a delight, a joy, and such a bright light in our home. We love you Carter, monkey, crazy kid. Oh, and he is going to be in the NFL Hall of Fame or have a PHD and cure diseases, no pressure Carter, you got this.
Life throws us for a loop on a regular basis. We continue to fight hard to move forward. We are so blessed to have 6 gifts, 6 beautiful amazing, unique, incredible kids. Life is not without struggle and pain. God knows we have had our share. We are so blessed to have so many wonderful people in our lives to help us get through the tough stuff. God Bless you all.
Have faith, have joy and have love.
Tom, Melissa, Leigha, Anthony, Travis, Brady, Wyatt and Carter.