Thursday, June 30, 2011

A Day at the Waterpark

This really hit the spot today. It was like being on vacation. I'm thankful for the invitation from a friend that wouldn't take no for an answer. It was just what I needed today, and she knew it. Thank you, Brooke!
(And, yes, I went down both of them!)

Adam loved looking at all the beach towels. I could barely get him from one area to another b/c he'd stop and say, "I see a Pooh blanket." and "Oh, look there's Mickey Mouse!" We saw lots of friends there, and Levi got lots of lovin' (which gave me a few moments to play one-on-one with Adam, so I was extra grateful).

I am so thankful for great friends who care about us. I wish I had taken more pictures today!

Tuesday, June 28, 2011

This, That, and the Other

THIS is the picture Adam colored during worship Sunday night. I just grabbed a few colors on the way out the door, so he didn't have many options to choose from. After he finished coloring Christopher Robin (AKA: "Tista Wobin") orange, he looked up at Chelsea and said, "I guess Tista Wobin should've worn sunscreen!"

THAT is the cute shirt I found for Adam at Goodwill.

And this is THE OTHER cute outfit I found at Goodwill (brand new, with tags still on it!).

I wore one of my all time favorite Goodwill finds to work today. This shirt! I got it a few years ago for $2.50 (It also still had the tags on it)! Love it!

My bargain shirts like this have been worn more often than some of my Ann Taylor clothes, and the hunt can be fun. It is more enjoyable when I saved so much and had to put effort into finding something special.

I spoke to a group of daycare teachers yesterday about working with parents of kids that have special needs. When I introduced myself, I told them about Levi, and the moment I shared that he had Down syndrome, they let out a unified, loud, sad, "Awww..." Not "Awww..." that's so cute. It was an "Awww... that's so sad." It didn't bother me much, but it is too bad they felt that way. How can that view be changed? Why did they feel sorry for me?

Sunday, June 26, 2011

Road Trip

I did a staff development in Detroit yesterday, and Wes & the boys came along. One of the highlights was playing on an old train (turned into a visitor's center). Wes spotted it on our way to the car after dinner on Friday. Adam loved it!

It is a real blessing to have weekends like this where we can all be together even though I am working out of town. Although, I'm sure the photos and stories I share here make our lives look rosy, we've been dealing with a lot of stress lately. This trip was a nice get-away. I am so thankful that no matter what life brings our way, we have each other.

Wednesday, June 22, 2011

He's Doing It!! Quadruped Crawl Stance!!

We have been working and working to get Levi to do this, and he made a breakthrough during his physical therapy session this morning!


The low muscle tone and lax hip joints that come along with Down syndrome make crawling one of the most difficult tasks for our kids to master. Many never truly crawl on all fours but get around with an army-crawl. Just getting Levi to hold this position without support is a BIG DEAL! Hooray! I think the yoga mat was helpful. It gave him a little extra grip that he can't get on the carpet.

Tuesday, June 21, 2011

Story Time

It was a treat for the boys to have Daddy with them at story time this week. Our library does a weekly story time complete with a snack, craft, stories, and some motion songs. (I actually almost know all the words to "Pop Goes the Weasel" now.)
Gotta love Adam's serious drawing faces!

The craft this week was finger painting. Levi loved it! (Adam...not so much. He doesn't like getting his hands dirty.)
They intently listened to three stories. Levi turned around every once in awhile to make sure we were still behind him.

And how sweet is this?!

The other day, Adam took an extremely long nap. He slept for an hour and woke up calling out for me. He was awake long enough to get out of bed but never came out of his room. Wes checked on him & said, "You've gotta go see him." He was sound asleep on the floor. Apparently he only was awake long enough to roll out of bed. He fell back asleep before he made it to the door and slept another 2 hours!
The next day, I got a picture of Levi sleeping with both eyes open! He does this fairly often. A friend held him the other day in church. She was sitting right behind us and leaned forward and whispered, "He's almost asleep." I laughed and said, "He IS asleep! He just has his eyes open!"

Monday, June 20, 2011

First Step Towards Independence - Weaning

According to the Farmer's Almanac, this week is a good week to wean, and Levi made it through the day with only one nursing session. I hadn't heard of it until I was about to wean Adam, but a friend told me about going by the Farmer's Almanac, and it really was an easy transition. A farmer at church looked it up for me and said that if he doesn't go by the moon phases given in the almanac, his calves will cry and cry for their mothers, but if he does it at the right time, it is easy to wean them. Interesting stuff. I am sure people were a lot more in touch with nature in the past, and it is so cool to see God's purposeful design even in the little things.

When Levi went for his swallow test, I was told not to use a straw with him just yet b/c it was too much volume for him to handle. Since then I've been working with him to use a Nuby brand cup with a silicone spout. It is a mix between a bottle and a sippy cup. He can get liquid out by biting or sucking on it. He gets better and better every day, and I feel like now he can get enough liquid without having to nurse. "Baby 411" (one of my favorite go-to books for a baby's first year) says that at one year of age, the goal is 16 oz. a day of whole milk. It also recommends 3 meals and 2 snacks a day, which we are on track with.

The ENT wants us to wait a little longer on table foods, but all-in-all, Levi has done quite well and has had very few feeding issues. The biggest struggle was getting him to nurse, but he actually mastered that at 2 months. It is hard to believe we are already at the point of ending his nursing days (Now he is 13 months). I remember this being such a sad time for me with Adam. It was the first step towards him not needing me, and it hurt my heart. I was so proud of Levi today that it wasn't too hard on me, but I will miss that special bonding time with him. Nursing him was our first obstacle to overcome and my first chance to say, "We'll show the world what he is capable of." It has always been a time for me to reflect and celebrate his first victory of being able to do something a lot of people (including the nurses at the hospital) didn't think he'd be able to.

Sunday, June 19, 2011

Happy Father's Day!

Happy Father's Day to my hubby, a family man that cares about us more than himself. I love you and am thankful for you! We are so glad you are ours!

And thank you to my daddy for being a such a great father. You have taught me how to be confident, work hard, and enjoy life. Thank you for showing so many of us what true love is all about.

Thursday, June 16, 2011

New Blood Test

Have you heard about the new blood test for pregnant mothers to see if they are carrying a baby with Down syndrome? It analyzes DNA material from the fetus circulating in the mother's blood (and while I've read it is supposed to be 100% accurate, The British Medical Journal reports that it mistakenly found Down syndrome in 2% of pregnancies when the child actually did not have it). The big issue is the impact a test like this would have on termination rates, but there is another impact that all of this has on those of us who have children with Down syndrome. I think you'll pick up on it when you watch this video.

Click here for an interesting video on the subject and how it is affecting New Zealand. It is fifteen minutes long but well worth it if you are interested. I had a little trouble loading the video, but it did end up working (I had to switch to a lower speed). I'd love to hear your thoughts on it.

Sunday, June 12, 2011

The Rest of the Stories

The Rest of the trip back from Mississippi
The tire place opened at 7am, but they couldn't get us a tire to fit my car til 1pm (long story with a few other options that didn't work out). I let Caroline sleep in and took Levi down to the hotel breakfast. This sweet, older woman working there looked very interested in Levi, and finally came over to me, just radiating peace & joyfulness. She knelt down between me & my precious little boy and said, "You'll be surprised at all he'll be able to do." We just smiled at each other. I was really touched. A few seconds passed, and she said, "We have three of them in my family." She has two relatives in her extended family that are in their 30's and her niece has a one-year-old with Down syndrome. It was a special moment that I won't soon forget.

After breakfast, Levi & I joined Caroline in the hotel room. We lounged around for the most of the morning and ate lunch on the patio at the Mexican restaurant next door to our hotel. I love eating outside, so it was a great way to hang out. We walked to a little antique shop and enjoyed our time there. Before leaving the antique shop, I asked if they minded me sitting in a chair to change Levi's diaper (he is still small enough to change on my lap). Well, he peed all over me, and I looked like I had wet myself. Lovely. Did I mention that I had no clean clothes b/c we were supposed to be home already?

The restaurant had a swing set, too!
Around 3:30 the owner of the tire place came to get us. We paid, loaded up, and . . . the car wouldn't start! The battery died b/c I ran the air for Levi while we waited to get everything taken care of the night before (and we didn't realize the phone was charging, too. Oops!) We had to take all the luggage back out for them to jump start the car b/c my battery is in the trunk. So the car started, they helped us load up, I got back in my seat and . . . it died again! Once they found us a new battery, we were finally on the road. I think it was 5 pm by then. We made it safely home at 8pm. What a trip! But we never complained and laughed a lot. Life can be fun if you roll with the punches.

While watching TV in our room, I heard Ray LaMontagne for the first time (You're listening to him now). Good stuff!

The Rest of Levi's One-Year Check-Up
He loved playing with the paper on the exam table and was one tough cookie when it came to shots. Height 27.5 in. Weight 16.5 lbs. That is 1% for height and 0% for weight. I asked if they would please compare him on the Down syndrome growth chart & had a copy for them. I just don't like seeing those zeros. On the Ds chart, he is 25% for height & weight. Sounds a little better. Doesn't it?

At each appointment, we get a nice little paper with what to expect at this age of development and other info. With Adam, each time we'd get one, we laugh because he'd be so far ahead of the milestones. When it said he should have a two word vocabulary, he was way beyond that. When I get these same papers, for Levi, I just glance at them. Some things he can do, some he can't. So what? We'll get there in our own time, and I don't want to miss a second of his sweetness worrying.

The Rest of Our "Day Out with Thomas"
It was hot, but fun. Grams & Grandpa came with us, and we got to meet up with Courtney, Kristy & Tyler on the way home, which was a wonderful treat!

The Rest of Kirill's Adoption Story
A while ago I shared a story about a boy named Kirill. A family in the US was working to adopt him (through Reece's Rainbow) from Russia. The judge there deemed him "unadoptable" b/c of his Ds. A heartbreaking story. Well...he's home now!!
(As with any videos on the blog, pause the music player at the bottom of the page first.)

A beautiful ending to the story.

The family's blog is called "Our Eyes Opened."