2011 has been a year filled with challenges, growth, and adventure. Highlights from the year include a return mission trip to Honduras with Raquel’s parents as part of the team, a family trip to Disney World, three trips for Raquel to watch the last space shuttle launch with the last trip being successful, a new role for me helping deploy an electronic medical record at Fairview Southdale Hospital, Raquel becoming the volunteer aerospace expert for the upcoming space station exhibit being created by the Science Museum of Minnesota, our church changing to a new pastor, Jaden jumping into first grade, Clay starting kindergarten as the big man on campus without his big brother around, and a cute little 4 year old girl named Alexis joining our house and trying to overcome the difficult start to her life.
In May we collected an amazing 14 bags full of medical equipment including a ventilator machine and went back to Loma de Luz hospital in Honduras. Raquel’s parents, Oscar and Judy Vilhauer, came along and put their carpentry, sewing and teaching skills to use throughout the hospital grounds. They were truly a gift from God to the people and staff down there and it was a blessing for us to be able to serve with them. I made a video tour of the hospital grounds on YouTube. You can search for Honduras Jarabek to find the video or use this link http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=q40bZptRC7g. You can check out Raquel’s blog in May and June for more details on the trip as well.
In June, Clay had a parachute birthday party with a blow up bounce house in our back yard. My wife is an amazing party planner and my kids are so blessed to have her as their mom! Clay is doing kindergarten at Sunrise Montessori and is starting to add, read tons of books and make us all laugh on a daily basis. He brings so much joy into our home! Jaden started first grade this year at Olson Elementary school and continues to excel at math, reading, and every sport he plays (hence the YMCA gym party in November). He is high energy, competitive, and wicked smart like his mom. He can add and subtract two digit numbers in his head, knows about half of his multiplication tables and is reading at a second grade level. Over the summer Raquel continued to volunteer at the Science Museum of Minnesota and was asked to be the aerospace expert for a multimillion dollar space station exhibit that is being designed over the next few years and will be traveling through many of the large museums throughout the country. She loves the opportunity to share her passion for space and they really enjoy having a volunteer aerospace engineer to help them with the project. I continue to work at the hospital helping patients get well, families cope with loss, and doctors navigate our new electronic record. Our family did escape the busy schedule to go to Disney World in August and loved every minute, from the luxury Disney resorts to Jaden going on the Expedition Everest roller coaster. Bryan also escaped on a Canada fishing trip and South Dakota pheasant hunting trip.
As many of you know Raquel and I have been taking classes for adoption and foster care for the last year and in October we got a call asking if we would take a cute little 3 (almost 4) year old girl named Alexis into our home. Alexis’s life has been filled with drugs, neglect and probably some abuse. She has speech delays, physical delays, attachment issues, fits of rage and self-harming behaviors. We are struggling to cope with the rage, adjust our behaviors to avoid tantrums, and try to explain to our boys why Alexis is how she is and that they are loved and safe. They have struggled behaviorally with the change, but we are trying to make extra one on one time with them to meet their needs and help them adjust. Our primary goal for Alexis is to provide a stable foster care environment for Alexis and get her as many school and medical services as possible to try to start improving her delays and behavioral issues. Please pray for us and our family! We pray that God will be with you this year in a special way that brings you joy & peace in abundance!
Bryan, Raquel, Jaden, Clay and Alexis