Saturday, January 5, 2013

2012... Bella's Miracle Year!

So we've been neglecting this blog a bit and for that we are sorry. In fact, I know that many of you lose sleep at night waiting to hear information from the crazies over here in the Earls house so, this post is for you... you weirdo.

This has been a big year for us:
  • We moved from our beloved VA to CA (missing old friends and making new ones)
  • We put on our "big boy pants" and bought a house (and as murphy's law would have it, things started breaking immediately so we re-did the kitchen, two bathrooms, put up gutters, and bought a new garage door)
  • Josh deployed to Afghanistan as a chaplain to the marines of CLB5 of Camp Pendleton
  • As a home owner with a missing husband, I learned to use a lawn mower, power tools, cleaned up dead animals by myself (ok, I asked neighbor to do it), and locked myself out of my house in my bathing suit while Bella was inside
  • My deployment roomie Kori and I had way too much fun in Southern CA going to concerts, various beach cities, and sea kayaking.
  • I started a group for special needs moms (I love them all dearly)
  • I attend a weekly Bible study at church (I love them too)
  • We were on the Price is Right (and that turned out ok I guess (wink)... shameless plug here)
  • Bella started biomedical treatments for autism and started seeing Dr. Bob Sears
  • Josh returned from deployment
  • Josh and I celebrated our 9 year anniversary by driving to Monterey, amazing trip with an amazingly hot man
  • We had friends and family over as often as we could and enjoyed the holidays with them as well!
  • I am two classes and a semester of student teaching away from my receiving master's in Special Education.
  • Oh and our Bella turned four years old!
On the topic of Bella, let me share with you her most recent milestones and progressions: 2012 was a year I will never forget in her precious story.  Bella spoke to us for the first time this year!  When I say "she spoke" I mean, she meaningfully and deliberately communicated her intentions to us.  When she was born I thought we'd never communicate.  If you type in the word autism in a Google search, the results are very scary and can seem pretty hopeless to a new mom or dad.  So, after some tough months of mourning and tears, we chose to remain optimistic.  Since her birth we prayed we would hear our child utter sweet nothings one day (even though some autistic children never do speak verbally).  We believed with all our hearts that God knew this, our greatest desire.  Well, this was her year friends!  About one month after she started biomedical treatments (whether it was the treatments or just her therapies finally working only the Lord knows), she started talking to us.  She would first say, "Ju", then "Juicy", then "I want juice"... then recently it's progressed to, "Mommy, I would like some more juice please":)  She started saying "No" and "Yes" (those are glorious words to hear for us, it helps us know if she wants to do something or not).  Remember, when she was young she would just bang her head to get our attention.  God is so good!  Bella started drinking from real cups (when before she had to drink from a particular kids cup).  She no longer sits in high chairs to eat, she feeds herself, helps bathe herself, helps put clothes on, and often takes them off so she can be naked:), brushes her teeth, rides a kids bike, navigates an Ipad better than we do, writes her name, knows the alphabet forward and backward, counts to 30, knows all the shapes and colors, is potty training, says names of extended family members she misses, and says hello and goodbye to perfect strangers!  Oh, and spontaneously gives us kisses!

When asked how many words she can say, my answer is ... endless... she can really formulate any word she wants.

As I type this I feel like I'm describing someone else's kid, someone else's life....and it overwhelms me with joy! Praise God for 2012.  I loved this year:)


  1. Bella, we are so proud of you!!!! Josh and Annie, we miss you guys like crazy!

  2. Thanks for sharing God's goodness! God has blessed your faithfulness.

  3. So, great to hear, Annie! So proud of you guys for all you've been through, and all the progress of Bella! Bless you!

  4. I saw this link on your mom's fb page. It's so good to see you living for Christ and to hear of Bella's progress. Our 9 yr old son has autism and have traveled this road of joys and sorrows, fears and hopes and know the difficuly of autism and ministry. Many blessings ...been a long time since the days of tri city! Kevin Steele