Saturday, February 6, 2010

How about those Contes?

Back to blogging again...finally! Dave and I had a date night tonight and went to see the movie "Extraordinary Measures." This movie was about a family with two children with Pompe's Disease, a serious muscular dystrophy, that in recent time has had a major scientific breakthrough in the treatment of the disease. We cried through the whole thing, but left with a sense of HOPE and renewed effort to not let Kate's diagnosis beat us!

Having said that, we also felt it was time to post our Christmas/New Year family letter. It's a little quirky, but hey, so are we and you truly captures us in real life. So, if you are up for the read, continue on and enjoy! (Just keep in mind Dave's saracastic sense of humor as you read.)

Hello to all of our friends and family. With the holidays and everything else we realized we have not updated our blog recently. We know you all are dying to know more about us. Heck, we can’t get enough of ourselves so we figured you all must be dying! In theory this can be counted as a sort of belated Christmas letter but only posted on a blog and not mailed to you. We learned over the holidays from some very good friends (or maybe not….hmmmm….may need to reevaluate that) , that Christmas letters about your family are very narcissistic and that no one really cares. Soooo, we stopped writing ours at that point and are just now picking up the pen again. We will only post on the blog so as to not assume that you want to read about us, but if by some chance you are at that point in life where you are sitting on the couch looking for something to do and your options are to stick a fork repeatedly into your eye or read this….well, we are now giving you the option.

As a family, we have grown larger and closer this past year. We were blessed to welcome our little Katherine (Kate, Katie, etc…) Elizabeth on May 11th, making us a family of 5 (counting our dog Jack of course.) Kate helped us make the gender number even while throwing off the balance for the grandparents (4 boys & 5 girls for the Roys and 2 boys & 3 girls for the Contes.) And speaking of the Roys and Contes…we have spent LOTS of time with them this year and have LOVED it! We spent a week in June with the Roys at the beach and a week in July with the Contes in the mountains this summer. We took a multitude of pictures and shared them on our family this blog site.

Dave is currently the Chief Technology Officer at the Schultz Center for Teaching and Leadership. When he isn’t working or fishing, he can be found wrestling and playing all kinds of things with Charlie, who simply adores his daddy. (In fact, when Charlie’s teachers ask him what he is thankful for at school before they pray, he ALWAYS says “my daddy.”)

Elizabeth (or Bissy for all you Keystone folks) is busy being a stay at home mother and loves her time at home with Charlie and Kate. As you many of you know the Doctors appointments and therapy sessions for Kate take quite a bit of time, patience and juggling. The hope is that with time the medical demands for time will decrease. In her spare time (yeah-right!), she has been teaching some online courses.

Charlie turned 2 in February and started preschool in September, attending 2 mornings a week. This has definitely been a year of “adjustment” for Charlie, learning how to be without mommy and share mommy time with his baby sister. He just adores Kate though and is such a good helper. He often asks to hold her and loves to sing and talk to her. He is ALL BOY and full of boundless energy, so he really looks forward to daddy coming home after work to PLAY, PLAY, PLAY! Charlie has excelled in riding his tricycle throughout the house at full speed narrowly missing walls, dog and toes. Now, there are times he miscalculates his speed and distance which can lead to disastrous results. In typical Charlie fashion he gets a bit of a stunned look with the occasional whimper. At first you think it’s because he is scared and possibly injured but no, generally it’s because he is in shock that he didn’t make the turn (or that his last minute braking is ineffective when combining wood floors and plastic wheels). In Charlie’s head he lives and dies by the “if at first you don’t succeed, try and try again until you do.” We just fear the tricycle wipe outs are only going to lead to more dangerous adventures as he gets older.

Now, Charlie really is a neat kid (seriously, just ask his parents but whatever you do don’t ask Uncle Dana. He is glad he’s not his ;-)! What we as parents are trying to figure out is where on earth did he get his sarcasm, shit-eating grin and well, most proudly, his foul language. We are stunned and really investigating this matter. Must be school…right? OK, it’s his mother! We are really trying to nip the foul language part. Dad just has to stop hurting himself with tools and watching FSU football in Charlie’s presence. We are looking forward to a wonderful life with Charlie as our son and can only sit back and join the wild ride that we are sure he is going to take us on.

Katherine has just turned 8 months old and is such a sweet, gentle baby girl. Many of you know that she had problems at birth and was diagnosed in August with Congenital Myotonic Muscular Dystrophy, a genetic condition with no known cure. Her muscle tone is low, causing developmental delays in her movement and feeding progress. She sees a physical therapist, speech therapist and many medical specialists who are keeping a close eye on her progress. She just loves to watch Charlie as he bounces around the family room. She does on occasion give us her own special smile when she wants.

Upon learning of Kate’s condition, we were shocked, stunned and in partial denial but rebounded after about a week and decided that this wasn’t helping Katherine. We decided to attend the Myotonic Dystrophy Family Conference in California in October, where we met other families, learned what to expect in the coming years and learned a great deal about the exciting research being done at present time.

Katherine has really started to show herself lately. Aside from her obvious current physical limitations she truly is the kindest, gentlest soul. We really have fallen in love with her and know that she totally follows in her father’s footsteps. His ability to be gentle and kind shines though in Katherine. We are hoping that it will eventually soften her mother up a little. All joking aside, we know that once Kate works through her early struggles in life she will go on to lead a very influential and caring life that will make this a better world.

The rest of the Conte family is plugging along. Jack continues to run scared from Charlie wishing he could just be left alone. Elizabeth and I are just enjoying our time with our family and making plans for our family’s future. We are hoping to start an annual fundraiser to support the Myotonic Dystrophy Foundation by year’s end. We would ultimately like to do two different annual events but will start with just one. We are knocking around a couple of ideas right now that are different than the typical golf tournament. In Jacksonville that effort has played itself out. We are always open to ideas so if you have any, please shoot them our way. We will also be looking for any volunteers that may be needed for the events so when the time comes and if you are interested please let us know. We are thinking for the announcement of our event we will do something small like a fireworks display downtown with rotating spot lights and maybe a small musical act like Garth Brooks. Stay tuned!

Lastly we want to thank all of our family and friends who have been by our side the past 8 months or so. We are truly the luckiest family in the world and without people like you in our lives we would be lost. Your support has been AWESOME!!!!


David, Elizabeth, Charlie, Katherine and of course Jack


Mrs. Lauren Skipper said...

Love it! I guess I need to do some blog updating as well:) Count me in for whatever you need for your fundraising efforts, especially if you are going to have country acts involved.

Rebecca said...

I laughed and cried! You guys are so cute!

JJ Brown said...

I loved you Christmas letter, I loved catching up on you and yours. When you need a volunteer, sign me up! Love and prayers to you all.

H. Alvarado said...

Please tell Dave that I have been waiting on pins and needles and now can finally breathe because of the update! Secretly I was hoping for more detailed info about Dave, but maybe next time. :) We would love to help with anything for the fundraiser. You know...Hector does know some pretty popular people-Rascal Flats, Luke Bryan, Haley Alvarado, etc. etc. Thanks for the update, I love getting to see the pictures! :)

Jeannie Terry said...

Elizabeth and Dave --
It was so good to see you and talk with you at Hannah's birthday party. I was go glad that there was time for Katie and I to become good friends. I loved the way that she looked into my eyes as if she was deciding if I was trustworthy or not. She must have given me "thumbs up" because she seemed satisfied to let me introduce her to some of the other folks at the party.

I love Dave's description of Charlie in your blog post. Watching him run and play at the party made me wonder how you both aren't totally wiped out by the time that you get him in the bed. Wow -- you could sell some of that energy, if you could capture it.

I will be following your journey and praying for you, so please let me know how I can pray specifically. Others might want to know, too.

Ooops, I've run out of space ~~more to come

Jeannie Terry said...

Just to finish up my "letter" --
I have been reading a blog that makes me think of you and thought that you might want to check it out.
This week, she is featuring women's writings about the detours that have occurred in their lives and how they are living IN, THROUGH, and AROUND the detour. I hope that these can be encouraging to you and to your other readers. I know that your detour is much bigger than most, but I hope that you can put words to yours sometime and share it with others who are faced with similar circumstances. No one can really understand how it feels to live in your space as you determine how to maneuver this unexpected and unwanted detour in your life.
It's easy to say "live in the moment", but not always easy to do. Even the moment can stretch you to the limit.

Katie is blessed to have you as her parents -- and of course, so is Charlie.

Jeannie Terry
Hannah's grandmother

please e-mail me directly, if you would like to