Tuesday, April 08, 2014

Breakthrough

It's interesting the things that will trigger emotions in you.  Today it was a picture of food.  One of my friends posted some food on Facebook that she was taking her husband and the Soldiers in his unit.  That picture sparked memories of when I used to do the same thing for Kevin and his Soldiers.  So many units, so much time, so much pride.

That all changed during our time at Fort Hood.  His first unit was great, we built such a great bond.  So many of the people in that unit will remain close no matter where the Army sends us.  We endured so much.  We don't have to talk every day to know that we have each other's backs.

His second unit...not so much.

The recent shooting at Fort Hood stirred up conversation between Kevin and I about who we thought might still be there and how we hoped everyone was okay.  The conversation took a turn to some of the people who were in his last unit and how we thought they were doing.  We didn't linger over names because the memories that were brought back weren't good.  Don't get me wrong, there are a few people I feel so grateful to have met and I still keep in contact with them but there are many that I am okay with never crossing paths with ever again.

I know that sounds harsh and unforgiving.  Details aren't important but what I realized today is that unit broke me.  It broke me in so many ways.  It made me so that I have not given everything like I had before.  I didn't engage with families or Soldiers in Kevin's units since then.  It made me hesitant to care like I used to care.

Coming to that realization today breaks my heart.  I have always loved serving Soldiers and their Families and I do so in other ways but I have not let myself become too attached.  Some may say that's a good thing, but for me...it's not.

I suppose in many ways I was naive to think that the Army I loved so much would always protect me and my family.  When it didn't, it hurt...a lot.  

I admit I'm still very angry at certain people, I pray that someday I can move past certain names and be as forgiving as I know I should be.  I'm not there yet. I hope that today was a breakthrough to truly healing. 

Wednesday, April 02, 2014

The Face of Autism in Our Home




Today is World Autism Awareness Day. Autism affects 1 in 68 children, 1 in 42 boys. In our house it is so much more than a statistic.

This is what Autism looks like in our home. I will be honest and say that we aren't ones who throw the term Autism around, not because we are ashamed but because we have spent most of Neil's life protecting him from being labeled. We learned early on in this journey that the world was not going to adapt to the amazing person he is but rather he would have to learn to navigate how to adapt to the world. We have been blessed to have people come in our lives who were willing to help us in that journey. Many know us from the early days, the struggles, the fear and the tears. The face of Autism you see in this picture is one who has overcome and who continues to conquer the label.

 
 There were days where I questioned why and then one day I asked, why not? Why shouldn't I be blessed with an amazing child who has taught me to love unconditionally, to appreciate small victories, to see the world in a way I might not have ever experienced otherwise. He breaks me and lifts me.

 
People often say they would never guess that Neil was any different, it makes me smile to know that we are achieving our goal. There are less bad days but they still exist. While we have many victories, we still have many challenges.
 

Tuesday, April 01, 2014

Three Boys, Three Winter Journeys


This past weekend we closed out our folkstyle wrestling season and winter indoor drumline. It's been an amazing winter in regards to the boys activities. 

I am so proud of my boys. Watching Michael perform in the drumline and interact with his friends was such a blessing. Even when he was frustrated about practices or performances he still had fun. I loved that he was in the front so I could always see him.

Michael, you are amazing! Your musically talent is something I hope you stay humble about. Thank you for your patience as we were not always there for your performances, thank you for understanding.

Daniel, you made a goal and while you think you fell short, you had a wonderful wrestling season. It was such a joy to watch you go out and be a pinning machine (25 pins for the season). I loved watching you support your friends on our team and those from other teams. I loved watching you laugh one second and then turn into all business the next.

Neil, your wrestling season wasn't as long as you wanted it to be but watching you coach our kids in the club was such a beautiful thing to experience. Your interaction with the kids making them push themselves yet encouraging the isn't something everyone can do. Your tenderness when they just needed to work through emotions was a humbling sight to see. You have grown into a wonderful mentor.

I loved when our music world mixed with our wrestling world. The Thursday before state the indoor drumline performed at the middle school for the 8th graders. I loved having our wrestlers tell me how much they enjoyed watching Michael perform, they were impressed he could play with four mallets.

We are blessed with three amazing boys who are individuals and have unique talents. While they are the Albrecht boys, they certainly are their own people and we love them each with all of our hearts.

Monday, March 31, 2014

State Medalist

What a difference a year makes!  I remember writing this post in tears last year and now I am here writing that Daniel not only qualified for state but is a state medalist!

Daniel did not like how he felt last year when he finished 7th at districts and barely missed out on advancing through the state series.  He was determined to work hard and not only get to state but to be a state champion.  He did some Greco/Freestyle but after Neil dislocated his elbow that kind of put the damper on that for the year.  He went into this year's wrestling season determined to meet his goals.  He started off the season by taking first at his first tournament.

 He just kept going.  He never placed below third and had more 1st place finishes then anything else.  He went into districts this year as the #1 seed and walked out the champion!
He went into regionals confident and determined.  He finished 2nd which was great!  He was not very happy as he wanted first but his second place finish meant he qualified for state!
I think I have not given Daniel enough credit the past few years.  I never dubbed him as a natural athlete.  He has heart, lots of it but he has to work hard at being good at sports.  He puts the work in to get the results he wants.  This year he was determined.  Mix that with the work and he ended the season with a 32-8 record, 25 of those being wins by pin.  As you can imagine, each loss at state was heartbreaking and didn't meet his ultimate goal of being state champion but being the 6th best wrestler in the state of Missouri in his weight class is nothing to be ashamed of.  He earned that spot on the podium!

Daniel had an awesome season.  It was so fun to be at tournaments and hear people talking about him using terms like, "beast", "champ" and "fighter".  I loved when people underestimated him when he walked out on the mat to wrestle their kid and be surprised when Daniel won the match.

I am proud of Daniel's humility and sportsmanship.  Overall, I am just proud of our son and the work he put into achieving his goals.  I can't wait for next season!


Sunday, March 02, 2014

Called to Serve!

We are so excited to announce that Michael has been called to serve in the Alpine German Speaking Mission for our church!  He has been waiting anxiously to turn in his papers and turned them in two weeks ago.  Lots of our friends and family tried to guess where he would be called to serve and about 7 people guessed Germany!

Watching him open his mission call was so sweet.  He said he was so excited at first but when he started reading it he suddenly became overwhelmed with emotion as you can clearly see.  I got all excited too which is why the video ended up coming in two parts.

I know he is going to be a great missionary because he loves the Gospel and he wants to share our Savior's love with others.  I know that I will miss him but am proud of his decision to sacrifice two years to do the Lord' work.  

video
video


Thursday, February 20, 2014

15-4

 Neil had a limited wrestling season due to not being able to start until after the new year.  The increase in snow helped in some ways with all the canceled tournaments/duals but he still didn't wrestle as much as he would have liked to.  Even with all of that, he went to practice and worked hard and I believe his coaches saw that.  Due to the lineup in his weight bracket, Neil ended up wrestling on JV.  It was somewhat disheartening at first but I am proud of him for knowing his body enough to know he wasn't ready to cut to a weight he didn't feel comfortable at.  I know many who gave him grief over it but we always said we would not risk health for this sport.

Neil tried to get to 145 but didn't like the way he felt when he cut weight, especially when he hit a plateau.  This forced him onto the JV squad.  Many kids quit when they don't get what they want.  Neil just continued to work hard.  He was a team leader and went out there and worked hard on the mat.  He has an undefeated JV  season for two years in a row now.  He did get a chance to wrestle Varsity for a home dual where he won his match with a major decision and he went with the Varsity team to a tournament where he finished 6th.  He went 4-4 which was a huge improvement from last year when he didn't win a single match.  Unfortunately, he came home with a concussion which left him out of the last big tournament of the season.  We are so proud of his work ethic and that he never quit even when others told him they would. 






Monday, December 02, 2013

Accepted!

Michael was pretty bold only applying to the one college he wants to go to.  The University of Missouri (MIZZOU).  I was a bit worried that he would not get accepted and his hopes would be crushed.  I tried to encourage him to apply to a few more colleges but he has a plan and that plan includes a music degree and the desire to march with their Marching Mizzou Band.

Well, Michael got accepted and was given the two year deferment since he is going on his mission upon graduation from high school.  We are so proud of him.  It's hard going through these milestones, I'd be happy to go back to the first steps and first day of school versus applying for colleges and sending my 18 year old baby off into the world alone.

Congratulations Michael!