Wednesday, July 27, 2011

Almost 2 yrs old!

I can't believe that Toby will be 2 next week! Where has the time gone? He is doing SOOO much right now and I feel like each day he learns how to say some new phrase or understands a new concept that just blows me away. He is talking in 3-4 word sentences now and I don't feel like there is a word he can't say! He can count to 10 and do his ABC's with some help. His memory is absolutely amazing and he really only has to see or hear something once or twice and it's locked in! He is full of personality and is such a funny kid! He is also starting to really sing and dance, his favorite song is Baby by Justin Bieber and we have to listen to it about 10 times a day! He is doing much better playing with other kids, sharing, being sweet and getting so excited to spend time with his friends. He loves to pray and shuts his little eyes real tight and it is probably the sweetest thing I have ever seen. Mark and I just can't believe we get to be parents to such an amazing little guy. I love this little man so much and just can't believe how fast he is growing up!

Here are some recent pics and some new expressions.

Wednesday, April 13, 2011

He loves him some music

Here is a video that was shot a few months back but is a classic to show off his sweet moves. enjoy!

Crazy Dancing Boy from Kendra Rohl on Vimeo.

Monday, March 07, 2011

Adventure Days

Something both Mark and I feel very strongly about as parents is cultivating a sense of adventure in our kids. Discovery, creativity, exploration is all a God given desire that yearns to be fulfilled in young and old and we want to provide ways for Toby to have those adventurous experiences from an early age.

Some of the ways that I try to do that as a stay at home mom is through music, dance,

art and the outdoors. A good portion of each day is spent playing and listening to music and Toby truly loves it! His favorite things to play are the drums then guitar then keyboard. He has great musicality and it's so cool to watch him respond and react to different types of music. He is also quite the little dancer! He has this crazy shoulder shrug dance that morphs into all sorts of other moves including booty shakin, break dancing and a hilarious squat and scoot dance. (you will see an assortment of these moves in the videos to be uploaded later today).

Another thing we have been doing a lot of is painting and he really loves it. He will bring me his paint brush, paint set and brushes and ask to please paint. We have started using this pine bench in our backyard as the main canvas for his painting which is a lot of fun and he has also painted on 2 small canvases, one of which hangs proudly in our home and the other was a gift to Vanessa (Toby's birthmom). He doesn't so much use crayons or markers because he just wants to eat them the whole time for some strange reason so we are sticking with paints as the main medium for now.

Thankfully, here in AZ we have a good portion of time where the weather is beautiful so we take full advantage of that and have a lot of outdoor adventures. The pics you see in Flickr are of the more recent explorations where we visited an old cotton gin, the big field across from our house by the airport and a bunch of other farmy/field areas (also scoping out new photo locations in the process). I want Toby to have that thrill of discovery and exploration and it is so much fun to watch him roam around and pick up sticks, through rocks, knock over flowers, etc. I can tell that he loves it and that makes me love it all the more.

Monday, January 24, 2011

Joy in the trial.

I had a very amazing experience today at a job I was doing in Paradise Valley. I was sent to a job to fix some outlets and a fan that wasn't working, nothing crazy just a quick in and out. I went to do the door, rang the bell and knocked but there was no answer. Just as I was about to pull away in the van the lady came out the door in her robe, telling me she was about to get in the shower and she was sorry but asked me to come in and she would get changed. She showed me the issue with the fan in her daughters room and said she would show me the outlets after she got her husband up and dressed in the master bed. She told me her husband has ALS and needs help getting ready before I go into the bed room. I checked out the fan and found the problem quickly, but she was still in the master bedroom getting her husband up and dressed, so I made sure I knew what I needed and waited for her to come out. After she came out she informed me that her son was going to be coming home and he is autistic, just so I know. The husband wheeled out of the bedroom and said thank you for helping them today and asked if I needed anything taking breaths from his respirator between every other word. I told him I was good thank you, and went into the bedroom with his wife, she showed me the issues she was having with the outlets and where they were located. She needed them fixed soon because they were the outlets used for his respirator, feeding tube, and hospital bed. At this point I was beginning to see what an amazing woman she was, raising an autistic son and caring for her ailing husband.

As I was leaving to get material, after her son came home, she informed me that her son likes to give gifts. As I was walking out he handed me a bundle of junk mail and news paper held together with scotch tape, one of the best gifts I have ever received. After getting the material and returning to the house I met the daughter as her, her brother and father were headed out the door. I was fixing the outlet in the master bedroom and the wife walked in, I felt an urge to tell her how beautiful her family was and what an amazing woman she was. The answer I got back was not what I expected but not surprising either. She said the only reason her family is the way it is, the only reason she is the way she is, is because of the Lord.

After fixing the electrical issues in the house I spent the next two hours in the kitchen with the husband, in his chair, and the wife talking about the Lord. They shared their testimony, the difficulties raising an autistic child, dealing with ALS and the most difficult of all was raising a teenage daughter. But the overwhelming foundation to their story was the joy of the Lord. The husband used to be a body builder, very fit and proud of his body, he told me it took the Lord breaking down his body for him to truly see what his purpose was, what his joy was. He told me that he never learned to read, left home at 14 after being abuse by his parents and dropped out of school at 16. He had his wife write meeting notes for him for his employees because he didn't know which words to use. He also told me that after being stuck in a wheel chair he taught himself to read by reading the Bible, he would ask his wife what words meant and how to sound them out. He now knows how to read and understands the Word. Something, he said, he wouldn't have done without ALS. The whole time I was talking with them the son kept coming in and out giving and taking another package from under my arm adding more and more material to my next gift. I unwrapped it when I got home and found more junk mail, news papers, and a box of Old Maid playing cards.

We shared back and forth about life, the gospel, and gave each other encouragement. They helped me to see that the Lord is good, always. The Lord was good to them before ALS, before autism, and before teenage rebellion. The Lord is good when he is near death from feeding tube malfunctions, when he found out the hard way that he couldn't swim anymore, when their son has grand-mal-seizures.

I walked away with this. I went through a "dark night" with our infertility. I have seen others around me deal with hard times. I don't want to diminish what I have gone through, or my close friends and family. But I saw something in them that I want to be able to say, to truly know deep down, no matter what I am facing, God is good. I wanted to hug them, thank them, to help them in some way. I wanted to ask the Lord to heal that man. But I know something now after talking to him, this is his joy, ALS is a part of his life but his focus is the Lord and Him glorified. I am amazed at how the Lord speaks into my life, and who he uses to speak, and I pray that I am used that same way.

So I leave you with this challenge: what struggle, trouble, trial are you facing right now? Again, no qualification or comparison to the things listed above, we all face trials that overwhelm us, whether physical, financial, life or death. What is stealing your joy, your focus? Is God good all the time? Will you yet praise Him through your trial?

Thursday, January 13, 2011

Communication is key

Things have changed for us in the last few days in that Tobias seems to be learning new words and signs at a rapid pace and that is a very good thing. He can now pretty much tell us what he wants or doesn't want with a combination of signs and words and it makes things ooohhh so much easier. Instead of just pointing and grunting and getting frustrated we now have little mini convos and it's just fantastic. I can't believe how big he is getting though, long gone are the baby days and we officially have entered into toddler time and that is proving to be a lot of work but so much fun! It's really an incredible feeling to watch your child actually processing, learning and responding to things as you are teaching them and I know this is just the beginning so I'm really looking forward to the coming months. I need to post a couple new videos of him using his new found vocabulary and also his new dance moves, freaking hilarious I tell you!

Monday, January 03, 2011

Christmas, Disneyland and the New Year

I can't believe we are already a few days in to 2011, where has the time gone? We had a wonderful holiday season with a much anticipated visit from Bing & Debbie over Thanksgiving. What a treat it was to get to spend time with them and just be together. Bing & Mark built a side patio for us that is just phenomenal and we are using it every day!

Toby got to take his first trip to Disneyland just before Christmas and it was such a blast! I love the Magic Kingdom for my own reasons but there is something truly magical getting to see it through the eyes of your child for the first time. We thought he may be terrified or overwhelmed by all the characters, rides, sights and sounds but he actually loved it all! We were at the park for a good 13 hours and he was a champ, he is really such an amazing kid and we had a fantastic time together. It was especially nice to have my mom, brother, sister in law and nephew there and we had our own little Christmas celebration with them that was so special. (pics from the trip on Flickr)

Christmas morning for us was pretty laid back. Tobs awoke to a train set around the tree that he was pretty excited about and a few presents to open that captured his interest for a few minutes but as is the case for most toddlers, the packaging and unwrapping of the presents is the most fun. We then headed to my dad's for a late breakfast and more presents and a lovely Christmas dinner. All in all, an absolutely wonderful Christmas but we really did miss all the Rohls!

New Years was spent with our good friends Kyle & Mel and a ton of other people and we had a great time! Toby made it all the way to 11:15 but just couldn't keep his eyes open another minute and crashed out on the couch with dad until midnight when he awoke to a room full of people ringing in the New Year.

As we reflect on 2010 we can say with great assurance that our God is good, giving, gracious and glorious! We have so much to be thankful for and are looking forward to what 2011 will hold!