2013 was a pretty good year for all of us. I browsed through photos from the past year, and it gives me many heartfelt smiles. Despite Jacob's medical challenges, he has a pretty darn good life. As I am thinking back on the year, here are my three highlights:
1. Team Jacob is growing, and Jacob has an all around fabulous circle of friends, family, nurses, therapists, classmates and teachers. You are all giving Jacob a rich life, and we are forever grateful to each of you. What else do you truly need in life?
2. Jacob is doing so well with his talker. We have gone from Jacob exploring his talker, and randomly telling us things to now being able to answer questions and let us know what he needs, what he wants, and what he loves. I never thought this would happen, but I have actually had to say "no" to Jacob because I can't accommodate his requests. I never thought I would have actual conversations with my boy. I love, love the new side of Jacob.
3. Jacob has sure had his share of tummy problems this year due to his ulcerative colitis, but seizures are at bay. This is the first fall in many years, we were not inpatient due to seizures. His clinical seizures have improved quite drastically this year. We do see seizures with pain and illness, but that is a very different picture than Jacob having uncontrolled seizures without knowing the reason why.
I will now hand over to Jacob to give you a glimpse of his 2013.
My 7th birthday party was one of my favorite days this year. I loved to be surrounded by kids all day long, and having fun, fun, fun! Selina and Alyssa are two of my favorite friends.
My speech therapist helped me find the right switch, so I could independently access my talker. I now have my own voice. I will let you know what I want, what I need, if I am in pain, and if I love you. Watch out! I wrote my first letter to Santa this year all by myself.
Spring is here! I stay inside for most of the winter, so spring means freedom! During spring break, we and everybody else in Denver went to the zoo! It was an awesome warm spring day despite the crowds!
I love my sister. Dad went to Europe on a business trip, so Sarah, mom and I had a sleepover. We didn't sleep much, but it was so much fun! Here we are cuddling and watching Curious George at 5 am in the morning.
I graduated from kindergarten! I first graduated from Bal Swan, which has been my school since I was two years old. It sure was a great run! I also had an awesome year at Coyote Ridge, which is now my elementary school for the coming years to come.
I went to summer school for the first time. I love this picture of Mrs. Pries (also my kindergarten teacher) and myself. We have a special bond. She still checks in on me as I am now in 1st grade.
Summer means pool time in our house! With me going to school all summer and mom spending time on her bike, we didn't have as much time going to the pool, but we still made time for swimming with our friends.
I started 1st grade! I love my special ed teacher Mrs. Chandra. Mom is amazed with how much the two of us can get done together. Mrs. Chandra always makes sure to leave lots of homework for me. I love doing homework - even on Christmas!
I conquered my first, but not last, 5K race! My speech therapist Brittany and I completed the race together. When we are not out racing, I like to boss Brittany around, but I always make sure to tell her I love her. Without Brittany, I would not have my own voice. Now, we just need to get Brittany on a bike, so we can do some more racing together.
I had a rough fall with four back-to-back hospital stays. We had two hospital stays with respiratory viruses and pneumonia followed by two consecutive stays at Children's with ulcerative colitis. What makes me feel better is when I have family and friends around me.
This is my Gemma getting married. I was so bummed I couldn't share this special day with her, since I was not allowed to leave the hospital...
I went on my 1st bike ride! I got to borrow this absolutely awesome adapted bike from my buddy Robert, and it gave me a new sense of freedom. Guess what Santa brought me?
Some called me the cutest minion ever. Happy Halloween!
I made it home from the hospital in time for turkey day! I had a relaxing quiet Thanksgiving together with my family. It was just what we all needed this year.
The day after Thanksgiving, we decorated our home for Christmas. I decorated my own Christmas tree with the help of Sarah. I can't remember the last time I was able to decorate my own tree, since I typically hang out at Children's this time of the year.
I went to my first Nutcracker performance. It was an extra special performance, since my best friend Selina was part of the performance.
I had a record breaking year baking cookies this year!
We had a big Swedish feast on Christmas Eve this year. I got to celebrate with my two favorite friends.
Look what Santa brought me...
...and lots of cuddling time all year long! Love, Jacob.