When we were in Virginia over Thanksgiving, my extended family unanimously voted that the Rush Family had experienced the most changes since the last Thanksgiving. My little brother's family even moved into a new house that they remodeled themselves and we still spanked their behinds in the "Most Life Changes in a Year" category. We were off the stress scale charts. While that's not necessarily a goal we were trying to achieve, it's definitely true. 2014 was certainly one for the books.
It's been almost seven months since we moved to Katy so I thought it was high time I did an update on how things are going around here. And since our sweet friends in the ATX watched them grow up, I thought I'd kick things off with the big girls.
Ryley on the left, Reagan on the right
Ryley is a senior and will graduate from Liberty this spring with a Bachelor of Science in Journalism, specializing in Sports Journalism. (Her minor is Spanish in case anyone is curious.) While at Liberty, she's been able to do a lot of sports writing for the athletics department and the club sports program. and she also maintains her own blog. (and her latest piece on it is pretty doggone sweet so you should probably go read it. Like now. Really.)
Ryley is the Varsity Club Assistant to the Director as well as their Marketing Manager. Varsity Club is a brand new alumni organization for former Liberty University athletes.
Ryley is especially drawn towards writing human interest stories under the umbrella of sports. Her dream job would be writing long form for a website like Grantland. So if any of you happen to know Bill Simmons, or his aunt, or his neighbor, or his seventh cousin twice removed, she'd love an intro.
Reagan is a freshman at Liberty and she's having a great first year! She just rocked her fall semester by getting all B's. Her roommate is from South Carolina and they get along wonderfully. She's met lots of fun people and we're just so proud of how she's adjusted to this big change.
Reagan works for Varsity Club as their Membership Manager, which means she contacts Liberty's former athletes (going all the way back to 1971), provides them with information about the new program, and gets them signed up in the database. She's also in charge of the free t-shirts so she's everyone's favorite girl!
Reagan's major is Strategic Communications, which means she's taking classes that give her a little taste of all things that she could encounter by pursuing a job in the communications field. For example, in one of her classes, she's learning not only how to work film equipment, but also how to put together and tear down cameras, as well as create good shots for media. She'll also take classes in public speaking, media writing, advertising, and design. Right now, Reagan is interested in the documentary film industry and her dream job would be working for Red Bull Media House. Again, if anyone knows anyone, intros are always appreciated.
The girls also work for Liberty's hockey team, which I find amusing since we're from Austin and they didn't grow up around much hockey. Any weekend that LU is hosting a hockey series, both girls are at the rink for every game. Ryley does live tweeting, player interviews and post-game write-ups while Reagan keeps game stats.
And now for the Bird.
Lily is doing awesome.
Actually, she's probably doing better right now than we've seen since we "lost her" at 19 months. She's very engaged with people and wants to connect with them. She's still selective about who she will engage with but hey, it's a start! She laughs a lot and just seems to be generally more content than she's been in a long time.
One of her favorite things to do is go to Katy Mills, which is about 3 minutes from our house. She loves just walking the whole mall loop several times, taking in the sights, the sounds and the people. She walks right beside us like a champ, sometimes holding our hands and sometimes letting go but always checking back in with a quick squeeze. (There was no way she would've done this a year ago - I was still dragging the Bob jog stroller everywhere so I could contain her.)
We usually make a stop at Books a Million and her new favorite restaurant, Subway.
We were so lucky to find an incredible caregiver for Lily as soon as we moved here. Miss Paulette has been an absolute blessing to our whole family and we not-so-jokingly refer to her as Lily's BFF. She has a background in behavioral therapy so Lily is learning so much when they are together, but more importantly, Lily loves spending time with her. They go all over Katy together - Target, Whole Foods, the duck pond, the library, the park, Katy Mills, and on and on. We really credit Paulette and Lily's new school as a large part of her progress this year.
Speaking of Lily's school, she loves it there. She has charmed her teachers and while she is not necessarily the most compliant kid in the classroom (a goal we are working on this year!), they are patient and loving with her and she is learning a lot. She is vocalizing more than we've heard in years so we're about to start speech therapy again.
Our health insurance company approved Lily's immunoglobulin infusions (Praise the Lord!) and Lily has had six of them so far. She gets the infusions every 2 weeks now. And on top of that great news? The infusions are given subcutaneously (right under the surface of the skin) using a very short, thin needle. The whole process is very similar to the way Ryley's insulin pump works so this was not a brand new concept for us. This means that Ryan and I are able to give the infusions ourselves at home - no more IV's, no more searching for good veins, and no more need for home healthcare nurses. We can also use a lidocaine cream that makes the infusion area numb so Lily doesn't feel a thing. The whole process is pretty painless and I expect it will get easier the more we do it.
While we continue to pray fervently for God to heal Lily and allow her to speak, we know that He is doing a great work in all of us. And in the meantime, she continues to be our spunky, sassy girl who keeps all of us on our toes.
The people of Kingsland have welcomed us with open arms and have blessed our family in many ways. Ryan is doing a great job and I'm not biased at all. We're getting to know people and starting to feel more at home in Katy. While Austin, Bannockburn and our precious friends there will always have a piece of our hearts, we're excited to see what God has in store for us here.
I'm planning to get back to posting on the blog twice a week now that we're settled and in a good routine. I hope you'll check in regularly on Mondays and Thursdays. And if something strikes your fancy, I hope you'll leave a comment. One of my favorite things is hearing from you!