Wow! I guess we are a little behind in getting a post on what’s going on in the Janssen household these days. We need to try and be a little more diligent. I’ll ATTEMPT to hit the highlights since our last post, and hopefully we can fill in the holes of what I miss.
I think the big news of the year is in the spring Ben did get an official diagnosis of Autism. He is on the spectrum although many of the professionals agree he is on the higher functioning end. That being said it is still amazing the small little victories we enjoy. Small things like Ben telling us he had a tummy ache last night and then confirming that by getting sick an hour later after we got home. I strongly believe that this whole experience will teach us to always notice and celebrate the little things. With this diagnosis, he has started therapy twice a week in Peoria at Easter Seals. This has been quite a change in our schedule as Peoria is over an hour away and he goes for 3 hours a day 2 days a week. It has been an adjustment, especially with summer ball schedules mixed in, but we do believe we are seeing good progress with the process.
Speaking of summer ball, the “big 3” have been busily enjoying summer ball this summer. All three teams started the season strong with multiple wins and it has been an exciting summer. Robert is finishing up his last summer of summer ball and has decided to go out with a bang. He has had the best season he has had in quite some time. He is fielding much better and is hitting the ball well. He has made some new friends in having guys from Abingdon and Bushnell on their team this summer and he has really enjoyed it. Thomas’s team has had a good summer as well. They’ve won some and lost some, but in his usual manner, Tom has continued to ALWAYS be upbeat and hustling! Jac had a different experience this summer in that she and a classmate were the only two on a team from Bushnell. There were more from her class involved in summer ball, but they combined girls from Avon and Bushnell and then split them on two teams. She found a strong love of catching, and of course Dad will try and foster that love. With a little coaching she has started to really come around as an up and coming catcher. Ben and Ali spent a lot of time at the ball fields this summer and have their favorite playgrounds, but also due to the extreme heat this summer have spent some evenings at home either with one of the big 3 or Mom or Dad.
Robert managed to have a few other experiences this summer in that he was involved in the Senior Rascals performance of Dear Edwina. He’s moved into the Senior group now. He tried telling us he had a very small part with only a few lines. He’s old enough that we would drop him off for practices and didn’t see the play until performance, and found out he was not completely honest. He didn’t have an overabundance of lines, but certainly had times when he stole the show with his lines but especially his non-verbal communication. Great performance. Rob spent a week with his Grandfather at Lincoln’s New Salem park near Springfield where he attended a day camp essentially training him to be an “interpreter” at the site teaching people about the site and the history. He really enjoyed it and the staff was very complimentary and was really advocating for him to return! This was also the summer of work for Robert in that he got his first taste of real employment. Rob decided he wanted to sign up for detasseling this summer and it’s meant some early mornings with hot working conditions, but he has enjoyed the paychecks.
Thomas and Jaclyn have also stepped up and been helping out bunches at home with the busy schedules. Thomas enjoyed a week of Bible camp last week at Faith Bible Camp, and this week both he and Jaclyn are spending their time at Lincoln’s New Salem park. We are so looking forward to the reports of their experiences this week. Ben continues to make progress and work on things both at Easter Seals and at home. In the fall he will be attending Pre-school at least part days to try and make that transition as well. Ali continues to keep us all smiling with her love and care for all of her siblings, but with a special bond with Ben. We can see already that she, Rob, Tom and Jac will all play a critical role in Ben’s future and they are all so caring and helpful in that regard.
Jody continues her work as Church Secretary and the challenges that it brings. Chris continues his work as Junior/Senior High Principal at Spoon River Valley and the challenges that the job and the schedule bring. We are all so thankful for the opportunities and blessings that God has provided. Jody has been struggling with a hip injury sustained from a fall on the ice last winter. Jody and Chris are both scheduled to run in the Macomb to Peoria run on July 21st to benefit St. Jude Children’s Research Hospital. Jody’s training has been disrupted by the injury and her running will probably be adjusted on Saturday, but so far the recovery is going well.
We have such busy schedules that we don’t often take the time to personally get in touch with our friends and family that mean so much to us, however, we are so blessed for each and every one of you. A short electronic note either here or on Facebook always means so much!