Monday, January 1, 2024

2023 - Reflections

2023 Grubb Family Letter

As we start the new year, I am reflecting on the last with thankfulness.

2023… The year our kids turned 21! 20. 18! & 16! – some big birthdays and indications of big life decisions being made regularly in the Grubb house. We are so thankful that our kids are all walking in Truth and still seek wisdom from us and other trusted adults. The decisions they make as young adults (school, calling, jobs, vehicles, moving out) have the potential to have big consequences. We are feeling the gravity of each one and with 3 young adults it seems there is always a big life choice being prayed about in our home!

2023 in a nutshell… Air Force. IT. Cancer. Civil Air Patrol. Teaching. Motorcycle. Senior Thesis. 50-Mile Race. College Graduation. High School Graduation. Camp. Family Reunion. Senior Thesis. Encampment. College drop-off. Hollywood Show. Motorcycle Accident………. College Graduation. Job Offer. Virginia. Kaden walks again! Christmas. 50th Birthday. The Lord’s hand was on it all.

For the more detailed version, see below.

January… the year always starts with people leaving – the holidays are over. Jonas heads back to the U.S. Air Force Academy (USAFA) with 3½ years left. Scott is still running his IT business. Ellen (Scott’s mom) is told she has 6 months to live due to cancer in her leg that is now also in her lungs. (spoiler alert: she is still with us!!!)

February… Silas attends SNCOS (senior non-commisioned officer school) as he is promoting in leadership at Civil Air Patrol (CAP). Tara continues teaching in our home and at the homeschool group one day each week – dissections, debates, dual enrollment, GenJ club, alongside Algebra 2, Latin 2, Biology, Western Cultural History, Socratic Dialogue, and British Literature. Grandma (Ellen) turns 75! Major Miller, a man instrumental in Jonas & Silas enjoying CAP dies unexpectedly at the age of 82. Kaia & Tara visit Liberty University in Virginia as Kaia expects to attend in the fall. We sneak in a day in D.C., too.

March… It snows at our house (first time since the 90s). Jonas turns 21 & Scott heads to Colorado to take him out for his birthday and experience a day in the life of a cadet at the academy. Kaden buys a motorcycle in central California prompting a roadtrip with his mom & grandma to pick it up. His license did not permit freeway driving yet, so we drove home on the byways (not the highways). Kaia turns 18. Tara has a birthday and subjects the children to a traditional birthday hike when Jonas is home for spring break. 

April… cousin Alison, took Jonas & Tara to Disneyland (first time in almost 20 years)! We enjoyed Easter Sunday sunrise service on the hill at our church, Kindred Community Church. Jonas was “recognized” – a huge deal for cadets 4th class at the academy. Kaia defended her senior thesis: the first amendment right to free speech on college campuses. Jonas completed the Falcon50 – a 50 MILE race on his base! (What?!?)

May… Kaia attended a super fun high school “grad nite” with other homeschooled students from our church. Silas turned 16 and got his driver license! Kaia graduated from Cypress College with an A.A. in Kinesiology (she was pursuing physical therapy) and an A.S. in Criminal Justice (she is pursuing a B.S. in this field).  She went to her high school prom with her small group of senior girls from church. Silas went to CAX – cadre assessment exercise – and was selected to be on cadre (leadership) for the CAP summer encampment. Kaia left for Ironwood Christian Camp for the summer. Kaden applied for a job with homeland security.

June… Jonas came home for 3 weeks – the academy gives them one of three 3-week periods off each summer. Jonas got the first period this summer. Kaia came home for a day to attend her high school graduation. This was the last time we’d have all the kids home until Christmas. Kaden, Jonas, & Tara worked VBS at our church.

July… Kaden & Tara fly to Kansas City for the 4thof July Thibodo family reunion! Kaden turns 20. Kaden finishes his last college class, writing his senior thesis: the effects of social media on mental health. Silas & Tara go to CAP encampment for 12 days where Silas serves on the logistics team and Tara works in mess leading a team of 15 cadets and 4 adults to make & serve breakfast and lunch to 600 people each day! We both got to fly on a Blackhawk on the last day of camp – so amazing!

August… Kaia returned from camp and was home for 9 days before Scott & Tara flew along to drop her off at college in Virginia. We stayed a few days as Scott had not seen the campus and to make sure she got settled. In contrast to the 1 backpack Jonas was allowed to bring to college, Kaia brought 4 HUGE bags! Grandpa turned 77 while Kaia was home. Kaden found out that he made it through the extensive homeland security hiring process and was waiting for a date to report to FLETC (Federal Law Enforcement Training Center). As it usually takes 9-24 months to get through the process, it appeared the Lord was really opening doors to get Kaden through in less than 3 months! Kaden’s metal band played a final show in Hollywood before one of the members moved across the country. Scott & Tara visited Jonas at USAFA for parents’ weekend.

August 31… Kaden was in a bad motorcycle accident. He was on his way to work early one morning and we woke up to a call from the hospital. We are so thankful that the Lord spared his life, but also that there was a surgeon willing to attempt what other surgeons thought was not possible – to repair his left leg. Kaden, though still in much pain, looks and walks like normal now – praise the Lord!

September… Kaden was in the hospital for 9 days with a grandparent or parent by his side every moment. I am so thankful that Jim & Ellen (the grandparents) stood in when we couldn’t be there and just to give respite throughout the time. The day Kaden came home from the hospital, his degree came in the mail. (He had already chosen not to attend graduation in New Jersey.) Kaden graduated from Thomas Edison State University with a B.A. in Communications. Hooray! Our church family, homeschool family, people from all parts of our lives shared in our difficulties as we nursed Kaden back to health. We were gifted food everyday so that I could give my full attention to nursing. Kaden was home but in a wheelchair with 2 broken arms as well as the leg, he could not move himself at all. He needed crazy amounts of meds at all different hours. I had to learn to give him shots twice a day. And the whole time the Lord sent his people to love us, solve logistical problems, encourage us, and care for us. In the meantime, we tried to shield our out-of-state kids from the extent of the challenges as we didn’t want them to be too distracted other than to pray for their brother. Silas rose to the occasion, as much fell on his shoulders with mom tending to brother. It was a sad day when homeland security called and told Kaden to report 10/23. The timing of the accident was interesting as normally people are looking forward to getting back to school or back to work and Kaden was in the midst of change, so he is just diligently working to heal, not sure what comes next. 

October… Once Kaden’s shots & meds were done, Silas & Tara flew to Virginia for a weekend to attend an event with Kaia! Scott & grandma were able to handle Kaden’s care. He got the casts off both arms and his leg in a brace so it could bend just a bit – woohoo for progress! Crutches after both arms broken was challenging, but eventually, he was able to use them.

November… Kaden is allowed to walk! Only 9 weeks after the accident – incredible! There is still a lot of pain and therapy to happen, but the amazing progress makes us hopeful! Silas & Tara again went to a GenJ student action team in Virginia. Thanksgiving was different without Jonas & Kaia, but precious as mom (Ellen) was still with us and based on her diagnosis in January, we didn’t expect that. Tara started working at Samaritan’s Purse with Operation Christmas Child (OCC) – a job that would last only a few weeks, but was very enjoyable and fulfilling.

December… Everyone was home! Jonas & Kaia both flew in on the same day. Everyone loves volunteering at OCC, so it was fun to have the 4 kids work together and bring me dinner. (: Christmas with extended family was lovely with lots of food and fun. For Christmas, all the kids got suits and it was perfect timing because we all attended the All Academy Ball on 12/26. It was a fun event to get dressed up and to celebrate Jonas. We celebrated Scott’s 50th birthday! He enjoyed time with family at a movie and his favorite restaurant.

What an incredible year! Looking forward to seeing what the Lord has for us in 2024!

On the horizon… Kaia will graduate with a B.S. in criminal justice from Liberty University in May. She has been accepted to graduate school but also applied for several jobs – may the Lord continue to guide her. Silas will graduate with a A.S. in aviation from Cypress College in May. He will still finish his senior year of high school (24-25) before moving on to ??? Kaden continues to heal and is working to get back to the physical condition he was in before the accident and would still like to pursue a law enforcement career. Jonas has spent 2½ years in Colorado at USAFA and has 2½ years to go!



Friday, December 15, 2023

Update on Kaden 12/15

 We are so thankful for continued excellent progress. Kaden is able to walk without limping after 3 weeks of PT. He continues to experience pain often when attempting to do normal things. He can stand for about an hour without pain. He can actively use his hands at an activity for about 20 minutes before he has pain. He usually continues his activities though pushing through the pain until he eventually must stop. So - still healing  

Something we noticed long after he got home was a back injury affecting his scapula. It wasn’t noticeable as long as he was sitting or laying around but became noticeable when he started driving again. So today we got a referral to a new orthopedic doctor for that. 

Praying for continued healing and specifically strength in his hands and leg. Also praying that the back issue can be resolved with PT. Thank you for praying with us!

Saturday, November 18, 2023

Good news

 Praise the Lord with us! A doctor visit yesterday confirmed that Kaden does not need a surgery for any ligaments. The leg surgeon has requested to see him next month and the goal is to be able to completely straighten his leg by then. He had been working on bending but apparently straightening has a shorter time frame goal. He is at 15° so stretching A LOT multiple times per day. He starts PT this week and we’re hopeful that will take him the rest of the way to complete healing. 

He also saw the hand/wrist surgeon who doesn’t want to see him for 6 months because he’s all good. His OT has gone well and though he’s not 100%, he is steadily increasing in strength and range of motion. Yay!

Kaden’s recovery has been slow to him but incredibly fast in so many ways. We are so thankful for all of your prayers and encouragement! We see the Lord’s handiwork in mending Kaden and many of you have shared how amazed you are at his recovery. 

Please pray that Kaden will get to 0° or a completely straight leg (the goal date is 3mos from surgery or 12/1).

The doctors have said 6-8mos total recovery time and Kaden’s goals are to get back to the fitness standards set for federal law enforcement which the doctors say will take hard work and determination, but are doable (until we find out they’re not) - they say push for the goal though no guarantees. But Kaden knows that what happens is in the Lord’s hands, so we trust him and continue to do the next, best thing. 

Pray that if Kaden must change his career goals he sees where the Lord is leading. And that he can figure out what job to do in the meantime when he’s not healed but not broken. 

Again, thank you for praying Kaden and us through this journey. We are SO thankful for your support!

Wednesday, November 1, 2023

He walks! Update 11/1

Kaden took his first steps (all over again). Proud mama moment. Ha. But really… thankful mama moment. Praise the Lord with us as we celebrate. (:

Kaden is continuing to work toward full recovery. He is learning to walk and drive. He is going to occupational therapy for his hands and wrists. He can feel the plate in his wrist as he stretches and it feels “weird”. He has not started a formal physical therapy regimen as he was sent today for an MRI to see if his MCL will require additional surgery. This would set him back to not walking for a bit. We shall see. In the mean time, he keeps stretching and gaining more function slowly and as long as it doesn’t cause too much pain  

Prayer requests: no more surgery, full healing and function, & encouragement.

Pray with us for continued healing and specifically for Kaden to not need additional knee surgery for his ligaments. Pray for his wrists to continue to stretch back to their regular function as they are really tight right now. Pray for the toe that was broken and is now hurting as he starts to walk again to be healed. Pray that the Lord draws Kaden close even as he must continue to be patient. Pray that he does not lose sight of the fact that we are so grateful that his life was spared and it’s a total bonus if he gets to fully recover to “normal”. 

Thursday, October 19, 2023

Update 10/17

 It has been 7 weeks since the accident and we are so thankful for the amazing progress in Kaden’s healing. 

Last Friday, Kaden saw the hand-specializing orthopedic surgeon and the leg-specializing orthopedic surgeon, and both were pleased with the progress. He has no casts on his arms and he’s allowed to put weight on his arms as he is comfortable. So he is able to use crutches for short bits of time when his arms can handle the weight. The leg surgeon said that on November 1 he can start attempting to walk without crutches for very short stints. He also said that it appears that there might be a tear or some damage to one of the ligaments in his knee that may require surgery and referred him to get an MRI. But other than that all the bones from the femur down to the toes that were broken look like they are healing well. Praise the Lord!

Kaden is faithful in doing all the stretches and such that he’s been given so far. He is ready to be better and be able to move about more freely. He’s been working on his car a bit - physical therapy for his hands and wrists. We try to go somewhere everyday - for a walk or drive or run an errand, just to not feel too cooped up. (: 

Please pray for the upcoming MRI to show any issues that need to be dealt with. Also that insurance would authorize all that’s needed quickly - physical therapy, etc. Finally, pray that as Kaden is more able to do things, he doesn’t overdo it! We so appreciate all the prayers that have brought him this far! Thank you for your kindness to us and to Kaden during this time!

Friday, September 29, 2023

Update, Friday 9/29

Kaden is doing well. He is at the point where he is feeling well and not taking any pain meds (woohoo!) and just having to be patient, waiting for his body to heal. He’s doing some physical therapy, but the doctor hasn’t ordered any vigorous PT yet. We are allowing the body to heal.

Today, we adjusted his leg brace to allow him to bend up to 90°. It took two weeks to get from 30° to 60°, so it will take time to get to 90°, but he is motivated. He is faithful and doing the minimal PT exercises of lifting his leg off the couch, bending his leg, activating/flexing some muscles that aren’t being used, and lifting his leg forward backward and sideways while standing. All of these exercises may not sound like much, but they are done through much effort. He does see the progress, so that’s an encouragement. 

Kaden is now able to do several “normal” things around the house that he could not do for the past month. Some I won’t share, but I will say he has figured out how to get his own bowl of cereal - including getting a bowl, getting cereal, getting milk, pouring cereal into the bowl, pouring milk into the bowl, getting a spoon, installing his foam grip, eating the cereal, and taking his dish to the sink. (Most of us never consider all those steps.) Also, today Kaden helped me load the dishwasher (slowly) but he feels good about being able to help out around the house.

Thank you for your support, encouragement, and prayers. We know that the Lord is at work and we constantly give thanks for the bits of physical progress we see as well as the mental and spiritual parts that we may or may not always recognize. 

Prayer requests: 1. continued healing, movement, encouragement & growth, 2. ability to do more simple tasks despite having 3 limbs immobilized, 3. creativity in incremental steps (for example, normally, you would lightly increase weight-bearing on the leg, but the way you increase the weight slowly is by using crutches which uses your hands, and since Kaden cannot bear weight on his hands, we need ro be creative.)

Thursday, September 21, 2023

Update Thursday 9/21

Woohoo! Kaden lifted his leg on his own! And it gave him a vision for what is to come. (: He said, “I think I’m going to be able to walk again!”

(He was sitting in his wheelchair and lifted the leg about 2”. Woohoo for progress!)