Monday, November 16, 2009

Livin it up in Livonia

This past weekend Leigh and I had a chance to head to the East side of the state for our first Spina Bifida Conference. Seems like a funny thing to be excited about, but I was kind of excited to hear what was to be said there and admittedly Leigh and I considered it a "vacation" as we left Grey home with Grandma Neal. (thanks Chris :) ) We rode down with Nate and Emily (Carson's mom and dad, If you missed last post, Carson is Grey's buddy and Olympic swim partner) on friday, and were able to enjoy a really nice evening with them.

So saturday morning comes and we had this brilliant idea that we would finally be able to SLEEP IN!!! We'll sure enough 6 thirty hits and guess who's up-and-at-em? Yep, So much for sleeping in. Oh well, it was still really nice to just lounge a bit. So anyway we head down to the conference, and at this point we really weren't sure what it was gonna be all about, we had never attended anything like this before, but heard from other parents that this was a good one to check out. The first thing that struck me was the amount of kids using canes, walkers, wheel chairs, it was great to see! Great to see because it is sooo rare in our day-to-day lives to see a child that needs a little extra help getting around. Leigh and I are always like, "where are they?" And when we do see one it's like "you think he/she has spina bifida?" So anyway, to see a large number of children like this was pretty cool. And with the large number of kids that were there was an even larger collective smile from them all! Everyone was very kind and had a general warmth about them.

As far as the actual conference was concerned I was VERY impressed with the speakers, (mainly Doctors from Detroit Children's Hospital) and learned a lot of interesting things. Some of the age appropriate stuff didn't directly relate to Grey, therefore my attention drifted as it does in any sort of "lecture type-situation" But overall, I was pretty attentive and even jotted a few notes down for future use.

I mentioned before how key it was for me to see kids with spina bifida getting around, laughing, interacting, playing with others. It also was encouraging to see and speak with adults living with spina bifida to cast some sort of light on what Grey's future might look like as an adult. For example, The four of us had lunch with a women named Katie, probably around my age, who was born with SB. She spoke with us about how her folks never went easy on her, but expected just the same from her as her brothers and sisters. She said she had a normal childhood, was on the swimming team for 4 years in high school, told us how she met her husband 5 year ago and introduced us to her daughter who was 3. Other adults included teachers, mentors, businessmen, etc. you know, like jobs that everyone else has. It's been a weakness of mine thinking about Grey's future and doubting/limiting what he might be able to do because of SB, but this weekend sure helped to rattle some of those thoughts outta my head and trust that Grey will do what he's meant to do. and that will be good enough. always.

love Andy, Leigh, Grey

Monday, November 9, 2009

Swim Class

For the past 4 weeks, Leigh has been "swimming" with Grey at Swim Class. When Leigh signed him up for these classes I thought it be fun for both of them, and especially for Grey. Swimming is a wonderful activity for anyone, but we've researched aqua therapy and can be a great form of Physical therapy for SB kids. However, this class wasn't part of therapy, but rather just a beginning swim class for babies held at a local fitness center. Nevertheless, if it got Grey to use his hips and legs a little more, than it be totally worth it!

I remember after the second or third class I asked Leigh if she told the instructor about Grey. It's still kind of a funny/awkward/weird conversation to bring up to someone that has never met Grey before. And to be honest the topic doesn't come up that often at the moment, because at nine months (arghhhh he's already 9 months) Grey looks and acts like any other typical baby. But I have a habit of getting ahead of myself and look to the future. The comments will come up, I know they will. I guess it's how we respond to them that will be crucial, and how we teach Grey to be confident in himself and be able to answer any ignorant question that may come his way. Anyway, where was I going with this... Oh yes, Leigh was in the pool with Grey doing their thing when the instructor comes up to the both of them and says,
"Come on Grey kick your kickers!"
I guess Leigh thought that was the best time to bring up the topic :) haha
And she simply responded by explaining that "Yeah, about his kickers... He might not be so good at that part of swimming, you see he has Spina Bifida and his legs aren't as strong." The instructor responded almost too gleefly, "OH OK, Great. That's fine." like she had no idea what Leigh was talking about. haha. But, really can't blame her. A little more than a year ago we wouldn't have had any idea what spina bifida really was. So I guess this is where we start learning how to perfect our delivery, how we inform others and build up people like Grey at the same time.

Back to the whole swimming thing...Grey's not a huge fan of going under water yet, Leigh informs me he's getting better at it so I had to see for myself. Last week I scooted out of work for a while and brought a camera. I'm pretty sure I embarrassed Leigh big time as a walk in from the locker room, winter jacket on, glasses all steamed up, holding a giant camera and lens from work. haha. But oh well, I got a few good pics of our little mer-man!

Grey deosn't always like to "reach and pull" :)

Grey training for the 2028 Olympics! Oh and look there's his relay partner Carson to the right!

love Andy, Leigh and Grey

Sunday, November 1, 2009

Grey...The Ferocious Fire-Breathin Dragon

It's been a while since I've been this excited for Halloween. Yeah I had some really great Trick or treat experiences growing up, but it's a whole new ballgame when you've got your own tiny trick-or-treatster on your hand. It all starts with the costume and trust me Leigh and i had to make some hard decisions when it came to Grey's final costume. Do we drop like 50-60 bucks on an elephant costume or hold out and see what else is out there? Luckily we stood our ground and Leigh happened across the Fire Breathin Dragon costume at Old Navy for a fraction of the price and a ton better than any elephant costume out there!! I've heard horror stories of kids throwin fits and freaking out when the get into their costumes (I was one of them), and was wondering how'd grey react to wearing his oversized dragon costume. Turns out he loved it!!! and if it was up to him, he'd still be wearing it :)

So here's how the big day went down.

first, it was time to get into the costume.

"Ok mom and dad, I'm ready to go!"

Quick picture with mommy, shows off my whole costume pretty well.

Outside for a family picture.

and another one.

Finally, my first trick or treat spot!

Scary family.

"wait, I thought I was the only Ferocious Fire Breathin Dragon out there! Nope, his buddy Carson was also a Ferocious Dragon :)"

So yeah, We all had a really fun day going around showin off the G-man in his costume. He certainly didn't shy way from the attention...or the candy :)

Hope everyone had a Happy Halloween!


Saturday, October 24, 2009

"Colors Here, Colors There, Lots of Colors Everywhere!"

That's just grey playing his winnie the pooh piano. He loves it and we have all the songs fully en-grained in our heads. :) One of those tunes happens to be about colors, speaking of colors it's fall in Michigan and the colors are pretty incredible. We took advantage and had a little Fall Photo shoot this past weekend. Here's a few of our favorites.

Just standing in our driveway is pretty amazing.

Grey being grey.

This family shot pretty much sums up our family! love it!

"uh dad...what you lookin at"

love the Gibbs'

Monday, October 19, 2009

noise maker

Just a quick little video of one of Grey's new "tricks" He's been doing it for three days straight, what a goof!

love the Gibbs Crew.

Sunday, October 11, 2009


I want to post a little video clip of Grey and his morning breakfast routine. It seems as if he's caught on to "hints" as to when he will be feed. In this case the sound of the microwave buttons sends his little hands into a frenzy. (he does this when he gets excited) It's pretty much the greatest/cutest thing ever~! He seems to really enjoy eating breakfast as seen by his hootin and hollerin during the meal. Another interesting/silly thing he does is when we ask if he wants more, he for some reason bites down on the tray of his hi-chair...silly. :) So overall he pretty much cracks himself up every morning at breakfast. Now if only Leigh and I could be that fun and chipper in the morning :)

the g-man says hi to all!

love the gibbs'

Monday, October 5, 2009

Pic Post

our little monkey, all bundled up!
Mommy and Grey

First off, thank you to all for the recent comments made in regards to the last post. Very thoughtful and encouraging! It's interesting to think about what started as a quick solution to get the word out to friends and family about our son, has transformed into this pretty incredible outlet for both Leigh and I. Not to mention has helped others in similar life scenarios. Another one of those things that God has revealed in the midst of all the craziness.

Anyway, Grey's been doing well and thought i'd share a few new pictures.

love to all,

Andy, Leigh, GRey