Monday, November 29, 2010

I am so drawn to the Reece's Rainbow website. I keep looking at the photos of those children, trying to comprehend it all. This little boy was found abandoned by the riverside when he was four months old. It leaves me speechless. I just don't understand.

Saturday, November 27, 2010

Yes!!!! I figured out how to make a hyperlink in my posts! (Well, technically, someone else figured it out and was kind enough to put it online where I could read it. I love the information super-highway!)

I am using my first attempt to bring you to a page that is part of the Reece's Rainbow website. Haven't heard of Reece's Rainbow? It is an international Down syndrome orphan ministry dedicated to rescuing children with Down syndrome from orphanages and mental institutions.

Sooo...All I want for Christmas is for you to click here.

Friday, November 26, 2010

Our Turkey Day was a nice one. It was much quieter than you would expect with five children under the age of two.

Here are the boys in thier "Team Grandpa" shirts...

And the girls all dolled up in some of their new clothes...

Levi got to join in on the Thanksgiving feast, too. He enjoyed his first taste of solid food, which was a little rice cereal.

We're not kidding when we say that grandpa now has his hands full with his grandbabies!
Now that a cold front has come in bringing us temps in the 30's and frost on the ground, we can officially welcome in the NEXT holiday!!

Tuesday, November 23, 2010

She is known as Aunt Tammi to some and Oma to others. No matter what the little ones call her, she gives her full attention and love...

And because she has been dreaming about a photo like this one, with her nephews and granddaughters all lined up in a row of pak-n-plays...
We made it happen for her. (Yes, Wes was standing on the roof to take that one!)

The neighbors sure got a kick out of it. I joked that I just wanted it to be taken quickly before CPS came to carry all the babies away!

My big boy making sure his new buddy was alright...

And my angel baby in being snuggled by Grams... Oh, how thankful I am, not only for my own family, but also for this wonderful family I have married into.

Tuesday, November 16, 2010

I can't believe Levi is almost six months old. What a ride it has been already. I went back and looked at some of the pictures from his first few days (pictures I haven't shared until now). He was NOT an attractive baby, and I had so many fears swirling around in my head. It is amazing to look back, remember where I was, and think of all the strides we have already made as a family. I was worried people wouldn't want to be around him, but I have seen family and friends fall madly in love with this special little boy. People are drawn to him. I have wrapped my branches even tighter around the roots that Wes's strength has always provided for me. The deepness of love this man is capable of is something I have always sensed very distinctly. I could feel his serious compassion and his deep concern for children, but now that hidden area of his soul has come out and is walking around in the open. It fills me up to be a part of that.

I have feared. I have accepted. I have learned so much about something I THOUGHT I knew a little about. Do I still wonder if I'll ever have an empty nest? Sure. Do I ask myself if I am doing enough for Levi? Every day. Does my chest tighten when I consider what his IQ or speech patterns will be like? Absolutely. But the thing that I have finally come to accept is that yes, this little boy was meant for me. I was chosen to be his mom, and he was given to the family that is just right for him.

Levi, I am sorry being afraid while we waited for your diagnosis. I am sorry for even a second of hoping it wasn't true, of hoping you were something other than all that you are. I am sorry for not knowing what you would come to mean to me in such a short period of time. You are giving me a new purpose in life, and you are making all of us around you better human beings. I promise to give you all I've got, baby are beautiful. (Scroll to the bottom of the page & pause the music player before playing the video)

(The song is "Beautiful" by Mercy Me.)
My lack of posts are not from lack of trying. I have been reflecting on Levi's first six months and made a slide show with a song that means a lot to me. It is such a large file that I cannot get it to upload. I am going to have to do some research to figure out a way to share it. In the meantime, look at what this little fella has been up to...
He is really getting control of his hands. He gets better at sitting every day and absolutely loves the jumparoo, even though he has yet to bounce in it! :) More pics coming soon.

A few Adam stories for you...This morning I heard him say, "Mmmm..." while eating. I asked, "Is that yummy in your tummy?" He replied, "No, it's yummy in my MOUTH!" I put him on the top bunk today to see what he'd do, and he said, "Thank you, thank you, THANK you" and proceeded to hug on his big teddy bear, hug the Cat in the Hat pillows, and kiss the Cat in the Hat wall decal. I asked what he was going to do when Daddy got home and he said, "Oh, play with Daddy. Play with "Wee-dye" (Levi). That kind of stuff." He is just too much. We taught him how to play hide-and-seek this week, and he is counting so well. His shrieks of laughter fill me up with joy!!

Tomorrow will be a sad, sad day as we say goodbye to Wes's dear Aunt Donnie. I am so grateful that Wes wanted to spend his day off last week going to have a visit with her. We never imagined it would be our last. She was a caring and deeply compassionate woman.

It was always hard to get a picture of her. She loved hiding behind people when the camera came out. These two pictures of her are the only ones I have. That beautiful girl beside her is one of three children. Aunt Donnie was someone that was so genuinely kind, you could hear it in her voice and feel it in her touch. She will be dearly missed by many, many people.

Thursday, November 11, 2010

Wes was off today (for Veteran's Day). We went to visit his grandparents and Aunt Donnie. Aunt Loretta stopped by to see us, even though she had a very busy morning, which we really appreciated. She took this great photo...We also got to see our niece, which was a nice surprise.

Wes gets such great photos. I love how in this next one he got both grandparents even though they weren't posing with each other.
Adam found some little ceramic dogs on the dresser in the one of the bedrooms, and didn't know he was being watched. Wes took this picture, too.

It was a happy day! What a blessing.

After all that traveling, we stopped at a Ruby Tuesday's restaurant to eat on the way home. A complete stranger came up to us to tell us how well-behaved Adam was. She was sitting nearby and had been watching him. She may never know how much that meant. It helped me to look at the big picture. There are so many times I think I am not teaching him well b/c he continues a behavior that we are working to stop. It helped remind me that this is a process that takes TIME. We can't get results in an instant, and although a child may make the same mistake several times in a row, as a parent, I have to remember that he is in the process of learning a new habit. I need to give him the time it takes to succeed and to believe in him. Six months ago I would never have imagined this boy having such wonderful manners...Now if I could just teach him not to throw things!!

Wednesday, November 10, 2010

No pics to post tonight, but I wanted to share that Levi is working so hard to sit up on his own! He topples over after a few seconds, so I keep my hands on either side to steady him, but he can keep his balance for up to 10 seconds sometimes. And today I was able to carry him on my hip for the first time. He is strong enough to keep himself steady now!! Love that boy!

Monday, November 8, 2010

Digital Scrapbooking

I am refreshing my memory on how to share digital scrapbook pages, and once I got these reformatted & exported, I noticed how unfinished they are. Some don't even have the date in which the photos were taken! Enjoy them anyway. I have been scrapbooking on my flights for work. It sure makes the time pass quickly. I am really enjoying this new approach to scrapbooking. I don't have to use up storage space at the house for supplies. It is a lot less expensive. I don't have to run to the store every time I need something, and the papers & embellishments can be used over and over again. I can easily start and stop without wasting any time getting things out and putting them away, and there's no big mess to clean up when I'm done! I do miss getting my hands into the process by cutting and handling ribbons, stamps, etc., and there are a few restrictions as far as what I can create on digital pages, but I never had the time to even make a page that way anymore. Plus, my motto is, "A finished page is a good page."

Sunday, November 7, 2010

Last Thursday, we went to Check E. Cheese's. When we entered, the guy that stamped our hands asked if we were there to celebrate anything special. I said, "Thursday night!" Just look how excited Adam was as we sat down and he took it all in...
Daddy looks a little excited, too. Doesn't he?
Levi was also wide-eyed with wonder.

I was happily surprised to see some toddler-sized games that Adam could play on his own, and I loved seeing his little hands put the tokens in and pull out tickets.

Of course playing games with Daddy was even more fun.

The Mario cart game takes your picture and makes it the icon on the screen to show you where you are in the race. Adam makes a cute Mario. Hu?

He was leery of some of the games and got very tense when he saw Chuck E. Cheese walking around. I happened to be carrying up to the soda fountain to refill my drink when he did his rounds. We walked the long way around, and I could feel him relax when I told him he was safe with me and that we wouldn't go by Chuck E. Cheese if he didn't want to. He still decided to ride the toy car with a Chuck E. Cheese in the passenger seat. I am glad I brought my camera or the only picture from the evening would have been this one (from the ride), which he ironically wants to hold all the time while saying, "We do dat adain? Dat be fun."

Wednesday, November 3, 2010

Today Levi had an appt. with an audiologist. It is just one of those things he needs checked out during his first 6 months. Downs syndrome also comes along with a higher likelihood of hearing problems. I just read online that 60-80% of children with DS have hearing deficits. They also have smaller Eustachian tubes and ear canals, which can result in more ear infections, which can lead to hearing loss.

First we went into a small room with the doctor on the other side of a window. She made different noises that came from speakers on the left or right sides of the room. She watched how he reacted to each sound. Then came the ABR test (auditory brain stem response). They attached electrodes behind each ear lobe and on his forehead, put earbud-type headphone in his ears, and then he nursed til he fell asleep. Once he was asleep, the doctor played sounds in the headphones and was able to monitor how his brain reacted to each sound. It was so interesting. She was even able to tell me when he was fully asleep because of his brainwaves.

As you can see, he was as happy as could be and did just fine, but I thought he'd never fall asleep. You know that they say a watched pot never boils! He ate like a bottomless pit! She would leave the room and come back every few minutes, and I'd have to say, "Still eating!" I told her it was too bad she wasn't waiting for ME to fall asleep. She wouldn't have had to wait at ALL on that!

She said that his ear canals and tubes looked larger than what she normally sees in children with DS and very happily told me that he has normal hearing in both ears. There are two different types of hearing loss. One he'd have already if he were going to have it. The other is the kind that comes from multiple ear infections, which is still a possibility. We have to go back when he is a year old to get another check up.

On the way home, she left a message to say that there was one thing she noticed when "crunching the numbers." He may have a little fluid in his ear, but she said his hearing was so good it isn't anything to be concerned about. There is a test that can tell how long it takes sound to get to the brain and it was a little delayed. She was careful to explain that it didn't mean his hearing was delayed. It just means there's some fluid in the inner ear. Anyway, I didn't catch her when I called back and may call the doctor tomorrow to check on that. He seems fine, but I sure hope that fluid doesn't lead to an ear infection.

I haven't posted in a while b/c Levi was a little under the weather this weekend, and I have been worn-out. No deep thoughts about anything lately, which I suppose is a good thing.

Here are some pics I took before church tonight...(the last one is my favorite)