Tuesday, December 30, 2008

Hats off to Michael...

Michael has officially finished his first semester in college! I couldn't be more proud of him. He received all A's...well one A- but just because of a few minor details! He worked so hard...14 credits wasn't exactly easy...and he has registered for 16 more next semester! But I must say he is really enjoying this holiday break...actually we all are! It's been really nice being able to spend so much time together! He was going to physical therapy at Neuroworx three times a week until medicaid cut off physical therapy throughout the state. So now we are looking at other avenues for Michael to continue his improvements. Some great news is he will be receiving custom made braces for his legs hopefully by the end of January! The braces are called HKFO's (Hip Knee Foot Orthodic)...he will use these braces with fore arm crutches to begin walking...I know it's hard to believe this is actually the case...but I sure can't wait! We'll keep you posted! He's received a few more visits for physical therapy...but he wants to save those for when he gets his braces. It's so nerve racking wondering if we're doing everything right...making sure he's stretching enough...or moving enough...and if he's at the right place...getting the right braces...the right care....we just don't want to make any wrong moves...yet we don't know exactly what the right moves are??? Don't get us wrong though...we have great hope he will one day be walking on his own...no crutches...no braces...just Michael...his legs...and the strength of the Lord.

"When I get big...."

Tonight we were talking with Brody at the dinner table...he often sees things he wants to do and says..."when I get big...I will be doing that" Such as go to school...work...and other random things...tonight he looked at Mike and he said..."When I get big...I'm going to have a wheelchair like you Dad." He said it so matter of fact...I didn't know how to respond...Mike smiled...and said..."Well...it's fun to be in a wheelchair...but it's more fun to run and play!" It took some convincing...but Brody finally agreed. I hadn't really pictured us having that conversation with our son...but I guess it makes sense...it's another thing in his daddy's life that Brody sees as...well cool! I sure love those guys!

Holiday...Catch Up!

Wow....I am horrible! Has it really almost been a month since I've updated??? Between Christmas...sickness...and all the stuff in between our poor blog has suffered :( So here's a really really quick update!

We had a fantastic Christmas...different from all the other years...but great! Man 3 year olds are so much fun at Christmas time! Elaine made it really fun for Brody as well...towards that remaining few days left till Christmas she and Brody would march around the house singing "I do believe in Christmas...I DO I DO!!!" It was so funny!But yes, Santa made it and it was a great time with family and friends...Brody did get awful sick Christmas day and the days following...I hate sickness around the holidays! But he still managed to enjoy the day! Jocelyn received her very first baby doll...and boy does she love that thing! As soon as she opened her present (or rather Brody opened it for her) she squealed and kissed and loved her up! It was so cute! Here are a few pics...of our holiday season...and a funny video will be coming!

Sugar Cookies...

Decorating the tree...

Our first Nativity...

Clown'n around...

Grandpa Bratt enjoying Brody's new toy from Santa!

Tuesday, December 2, 2008

My Letter of Recommendation...

So...as of yesterday afternoon...Mike has officially applied for his hand cycle grant! Wow...it was a bit of a bigger job then I had anticipated...but hopefully it will be well worth it! We find out in April. While we were gathering all the paperwork...there were two letters of recommendations required...one from his physician and the other from a friend or family member...so...who do you think he asked...yep...me! As much as I love Mike...I wasn't super excited to write it...because it meant one more thing to do...but after putting it together I am so glad I had that opportunity. It reminded me...again...of all the many reasons I love Mike...So...if you don't mind my bad writing...I'd like to share...

To whom it may concern:

I am Michelle Bratt Kemp, wife of Michael Shirl Kemp. We began dating in September of 2003 and were married by April of 2004. From my very first encounter with Michael until now I have known him to be nothing but respectful, kind and hard working. The first 2 and a half years of marriage Michael worked as a Real-estate Agent for Prudential Utah. Michael did well in the field and was making great progress. He then was offered a position as part owner of a custom log home company, Black Powder Log Homes. Wood work and Business management are two of his talents and passions in life. After much thought and discussion we decided together that this career move would be the best thing for him and our family. He worked hard with his partners to build the company. He was good at this business and learning more and more each day. It was very rewarding for him to see the company grow. In September of 2005 Broden Michael Kemp was born into our family bringing us much joy. In January of 2008 Jocelyn Kemp also was born into our family. We had four and a half sweet weeks as a family of four. In March of 2008 Michael fell off some scaffolding, just 9 feet, breaking his back and bursting his thoracic 12 vertebrae. Within hours of his accident he was diagnosed with paraplegia and told he would never walk again. This was devastating to the both of us. Even with the incredible pressure that comes from something so hard to wrap our minds around, Michael decided he would make the most of it, and we would look at this as an adventure. I can honestly say through all of the ups and downs he has looked at all of this as one crazy and wild adventure...learning much.

From the years of knowing Michael and the stories I have heard from his family and friends I have heard nothing but positive. The stories I tend to hear are of him being understanding of others, hard working, and courageous. All of which is what I would most definitely say of Michael. Before his accident Michael spent many of his days serving...whether he was snow blowing someones driveway and walk, or helping a neighbor fix their sprinkler system he would do it, and he would do it with a smile. After his accident we had an outpouring of incredibly kind and generous people willing to do anything for us. I believe that is much attributed to Michael and the man he is. Through all of these hard times we have been experiencing, Michael has been my strength and my confidant. I feel as though he is comforting me more than I have ever done for him. Something that has stood out to me about Michael is that he appreciates everything and chooses to be happy each day. There are several occasions where I have found myself distraught and crying about our situation, wishing things would change, missing our old life...Michael stops me and says "Michelle, we have our family, we have a roof over our heads, we have food in our fridge...what more do we need?" Obviously there are several things that help, but he is right, we are incredibly blessed and have been blessed with all of our immediate needs. He does get frustrated at times knowing he cannot go back to his old job and begin providing for the family again. But he knows that attending school full time with goals of an associates degree in applied science and perhaps go on for a four year degree in business management or law will ultimately be better for us all. And we will look back at this interim as a short time. A time where we are all learning so much. I have so much respect and love for him. He does more for me and my family each day than I could ever do for him. We still are able to find things to do together, we still are able to laugh and smile each day, and we still are able to grow stronger together...thanks to Michael and his optimistic attitude.

Many times when I think about Michael and all his attributes I can't believe he's for real, and keep waiting to see his big flaws...but he is for real, and proves that to me daily. I would strongly recommend Michael for your CAF grant. He is incredibly deserving. As it would provide an avenue for not only opportunities to spend time with the family, but to maintain a physically fit body. Which is something that has always been important to Michael. Now that he is living his life in a wheelchair it is even more important to do so. There is a story that I could better express Michael's attitude and why he is so deserving. Just hours before Michael's accident I was very upset, I had just heard our son Broden had fallen and killed his front tooth, the dentist had informed us that his two front teeth would most likely be pulled and our two year old would be toothless (at least his two front teeth) for five remaining years. Just hours later and upon hearing of Michael's accident, I was given the phone to speak with Michael, as he was an hour south of where I was. We talked for a few minutes, and at the end of the conversation he said, "Well, at least I have my two front teeth!" Like I said, he is the kind of person that makes the most of life. This grant would help enable him to make even more of his life. Thank you for taking the time to read this, as I hope it is a help in making your decision.

Michelle Bratt Kemp

Wednesday, November 26, 2008

A Miracle Amongst the Flames...

Honestly, I haven't known what to say since Friday night when we heard the horrible news that Greg and Emery's home burned down. That evening Emery and the kids had come to stay for the weekend...by about 10:00 pm Emery received a phone call from Mike's brother Ben (who lives just down the road from their home) saying that Greg and Emery's home was completely engulfed in flames. This was a shock to us all...Greg (Michael's brother) was an hour away up the canyon at a scout camp out when he received the news. By the time Greg made it there it was gone. The miracle...they are all together and safe.

We are all trying to make sense of this...but really don't know what to say except how grateful we are that they are safe. They will be staying with Dale and Elaine and us for a little while until they sort things out...another blessing is they had fire insurance which will cover most things...if that can get worked out...except for the hard things such as journals, pictures, mementos and other memories. We still cannot believe it...and are not sure exactly how it happened...but we'll keep things posted as we learn more...in the mean time thank you to all those who have come with arms full of clothing, toys, blankets and love...they are well loved...we are so blessed with wonderful friends and family. Greg and Emery are such an example to me. They are handling it so well...knowing that the most important things in life weren't in that home...and that family is everything. They remind me how important it is to roll with the punches...and still smile. Sorry for the muddled words...I truly just don't know what to say...except that we are incredibly grateful for the protection of our Heavenly Father and his loving angels who come in the form of family and friends...if wondering what you can do...a prayer for peace and that things can run smoothly in sorting all of this out... Thank you!

Friday, November 21, 2008

Like a Bird...We Have our Ups and Downs...

For some reason I seem to have a plethora of ups and downs...for my family and friend's sake...I wish I could control those better...but I seem to stay consistently on my bumpy roller coaster of emotions...so I just wanted to thank those who are willing to jump on that crazy ride with me... laughing and crying with all the "ups"...and laughing and crying with all the "downs"...making the ride not quite so bumpy! Thank you...you know who you are!

What beautiful hair you have!
Can I just say Mom...what a great Grandma you are...getting out there and jumping on the trampoline with Brody...even with me snapping away...I love you...thanks for the giggles!

Monday, November 17, 2008

A Forever Family...

Saturday, Little Leiah was sealed to her family for time and all eternity... she has brought so much joy!

I keep trying to write the feelings I have from attending such a miraculous occasion...but I am speechless...their example has replenished my thirst for the spirit! Their example has taught me...no matter how impossible the goal may seem...just keep pushing for it...faith in every footstep. Congratulations Dave and Lori!!!

Dave and Lori were so good to let me practice taking pictures of their beautiful family...what troopers!

Wednesday, November 12, 2008

Giggely Boys + Picture Happy Mammas = Humpty Dumptys?

Everybody Smile!!!

Everybody Hug!!!

Uh Oh...

Needless to say we felt awful about the fall!!! Good news...after several hugs and kisses they are all alive and well...bouncing off many more walls!
PS In case any of you are wondering why I was still clicking while they were falling...the only thing I can think of is delayed reaction and the speed shutter mode thingy (the camera kept clicking)...now if there were another picture just their feet in the air...it'd be a funny pic...but I'd really win the "Bad Mommy Award!"

Wednesday, November 5, 2008

Video of Mike Crawling...

As many of you know, Mike has just recently begun crawling entirely on his own! Because I'm not able to go with him to physical therapy very often anymore I haven't been able to get him on video...much less even see him crawl...but once. But last Friday (Halloween) we decided to go with him as a family...Elaine even came. He is improving so much...getting stronger at the stationary bike and balancing on the walker much better! And right at the end...we were able to see him crawl...he is absolutely amazing...and I love him...

You can pause the playlist on the blog to hear the music...or just turn the sound down all together...I just have to put music to everything for some reason.

Don't mind all the "Dalmatian puppies" in the video...it was Halloween and they had 101 Damnation's theme going on...it was really funny...sorry it took so long to finally post!

Here to Save the Day!

If you couldn't tell...Brody was a super hero for Halloween! And boy did he take it seriously...it's costumes like this that happen when I wait until the last minute...oh well...we had a lot of fun!

Thursday, October 30, 2008

Hand Cycles...It's Funny How Things Work Out!

It's funny how things work out...back in February Mike and I had been talking real seriously about getting into biking...we were going to do the whole thing...the baby bike trailors...bikes...and even some of those cool bike trips you can go on...like to Lake Powell and Moab...and wherever! It was pretty exciting! A few weeks later Mike had his accident and that dream turned quickly...but not so badly. Mike was life flighted to the ER...and it was there I got to see him. We had a few minutes to speak alone...we talked about our lives...and how they would be different...and what we were going to do...ironically the biking thing was brought up...and quickly solidified...hand cycling! And weirdly enough...it was something exciting for us to look forward to...even in that very crazy hour! So now...8 months later...for the first time...Mike took a shot at a hand cycle! Thanks to the TRAILS program at the U of U hospital we're able to rent them for only $5 a day! Today Mike checked out a few to see which best fit him! It was just in the parking lot...but it was enough to get us both pretty excited about biking! He's applying for a adaptive sports equipment grant...which would essentially pay for the entire bike ($3,500)! We were told that %95 of all applicants are accepted! So needless to say we are pretty excited...so like I said...it's funny how things work out. Thanks for letting us share...wish us luck!

Sunday, October 26, 2008

Tuesday, October 21, 2008

An Evening at the Park...

The other day we decided to take Brodyand Jocelyn to the Lindon Park...we had a great time...

The sun was really bright...but Jocelyn loved playing on the grass!
I keep trying to get a good picture of her feet...but I've yet to do so...this is the closest so far!

Goofing around!
Brody took this one...this is in the new Lindon tunnel that travels under state street...it was awesome...and cool lighting too!
Who said you can't take your own family picture... We had a great time...I keep forgetting...how sometimes it's the simplest things that turn out to be the funnest...

Wednesday, October 15, 2008

Can't Wait for Halloween...

So last Friday night Mike and I were supposed to go out on a date...I was so excited and felt like it was much needed! But...due to schedules and things we had to post pone...which totally made sense...but I was incredibly bummed! Before I knew it Mike was off at the store and back in a jiffy in his lap...a 16 lb pumpkin! Seriously...do you get any cooler than that? I don't think so...the rest of the evening was spent as a family cleaning...carving and lighting the pumpkin...Brody was so excited! We even cooked the seeds (thank you Richard)! This was all a first for our family...we had a blast...he even took me out on a date the next morning (thank you Mom and Dad for watching the kids)...what did I do to deserve this? Love you Mike!

Overcome with elation!!!

I drew the face...Mike carved...and Brody dropped (literally) the candle in the bottom! He also washed his hands a lot...every time they became slimy from the pumpkin's innards...he sure didn't like that feeling!

We were trying to make scary faces...Jocelyn's face looks scared...or bewildered.

And at the end of the night...the pumpkin was named Brody...by Brody...Happy Halloween!