Wednesday, May 30, 2012

Levi's New Favorite Facial Expression

This morning, while I was working on Adam's reading lesson with him, Levi emptied this kitchen drawer and climbed in himself!

Sunday, May 27, 2012

Parenting a Child with Down Syndrome

(I chose this title because I hope a new mom might come across this post someday and find a little good news while she is in the midst of fearing the unknown.)
Two years ago today, I was afraid. I was afraid others wouldn't love my sweet baby. I was afraid our friends would be too uncomfortable to be around us anymore. I was afraid people would make fun of him. I was afraid of so many things.

Levi was born around 1:30am on May 27, 2010. At 7am, one of the pediatricians told us he suspected Levi had Down syndrome and ordered a blood test. I have pictures that prove it wasn't non-stop, but I cried more than I didn't for 48 hours, wondering if I would ever be normal again.
 This tiny, weak little boy couldn't even grip our fingers, and my heart was broken. I knew our lives would be forever changed.
I just didn't know they were going to be changed for the better.

Because of this little boy, I have a compassion for others I never knew. I have new friends that mean the world to me. I can't wait to see what the next year holds for us. We are so blessed to have this awesome kid in our family.

I think all moms, at one time or another, want to appear like they've got it all together. I have learned that admiration isn't friendship, and the appearance of having it all doesn't compare to being accepted for being genuine...genuinely imperfect. Levi gives our family more character and adds personality to "us." And what I used to see as imperfection, has become something I never want to be without. An extra chromosome can become a family's badge of authenticity. No masks, no pretending. This is who we are.

And we love who we we are because of him.
Happy Birthday, Big Guy!
You are rockin' that extra chromosome, and we are proud you belong to us.

Wednesday, May 23, 2012

Sweet Home Alabama

I worked in Alabama on Saturday. Wes & the boys came along & we spent two nights with his cousin & childhood playmate, Wendi. Here is a photo of the two of them as kids. She & her husband were so much fun, as we pulled out of their driveway, Adam was figuring out ways for us to move into their house!
Of course, a trip of ours couldn't be complete without some sort of mishap, so what do we do when our car breaks down multiple times? We just...

These are two of my favorite photos from our trip.

Scott & Wendi, this is for you. We had a blast!

Wednesday, May 16, 2012

Children are a Heritage from the Lord

I wanted to share this video I had the pleasure of putting together for our Mother's Day worship service. Each year, the babies that have been born since last Mother's Day are presented with Bibles in front of the congregation. This year, my friend wanted to add to the presentation and make it more meaningful. She is the narrator in the video. I love that she had such a great idea. I love that I was able to help.

As I watch, I can't help but think of the Mother's Day services I experienced the years we were trying to have children yet could not . I cried through a few of them and remember feeling so inadequate. On Mother's Day every year, I am very conscious of the women that are longing to be mothers and how they must feel while so many others celebrate what they are missing.

I haven't posted in awhile because I was hoping to make sense of my thoughts, but I really can't, so I'll just let you in my head for a minute..."Did I read enough to Levi today? Is he ready to learn colors yet? Is it okay to let him scoot on his bottom like he does? Is that going to hurt his fine motor skills? Does the physical therapist think I'm a bad mom? What other signs should we be working on? Isn't another eye exam around the corner for him? Is therapy really helping? I've been letting him get around and explore like Adam did, but is that enough? Is Adam getting enough of me? Should he go to preschool? I wonder if we'll be moving this summer." I'll stop before your head explodes, but that's what it's like most of the day. *SIGH*

My blog has been on the back burner, and I am trying to be happy with that. I haven't even been reading as many blogs or commenting. What I have been doing is spending more time with my husband in the evenings and being fully engaged during the day with the children.

I had a great Mother's Day & birthday this week. I have a few scrapbook pages done and am working on a video of the boys for you. Check back soon!

Tuesday, May 8, 2012

Tuesday Tidbit: Cute & Easy to Make Baby Shower Cake & Cupcakes

Believe me, it isn't the masterpiece I'd hoped for & I am disappointed in the sloppy parts, but I wanted to share how easy it was to make this cake. Wes was in charge of bringing a cake to a baby shower at his work, and I didn't want to send a boring sheet cake.

I used one cake mix, a six in round pan & a nine in round pan. I got white cake decorator's icing and liked working with this consistency more than regular icing. To make the flesh color, add 2 drops yellow food coloring, 2 drops of red and a drop of green (I know, weird but true). Repeat 2 drops of yellow, 2 drops of red, and one drop of green until you get the color you are looking for (which will depend on how much icing you are using).
The eyes are Hershey's drops & the nose & belly button are M&M's.
I made a lot of icing because I also wanted to try these cupcakes. Unfortunately, Adam got to the M&M's before I could get their little orange noses added!
Happy Tuesday to you!

Thursday, May 3, 2012

Update on Levi's Latest Case of Croup

Yes, he got croup AGAIN! He woke up with that familiar barking cough this morning. I got him to the doctor's office before lunchtime, and he was given a dose of Decadron (an oral steroid in the form of chocolate syrup!). The idea was to get him taken care of to keep things from getting worse, and it worked!
In the waiting room at the doctor's office:

We even went out for a mother-son lunch date afterwards!
He bobbed up & down, leaning forward and back in his seat to a fun 80's mix playing through the restaurant speakers. I think "Hungry Like the Wolf" was his favorite of the day.

We ate at Cheddar's. While I enjoyed a fried chicken salad, he chowed down on some crackers and two packages of baby food. It was quite relaxing after a frenzied morning. Adam had a fun day spending time at the park with a buddy, and thankfully Ms. Addie has back-up child care arrangements for the crazy times we have at our house fairly often.

And here's a random picture of one of the random things that happens at our house. Adam likes to pretend he's Cat in the Hat with this umbrella. I'm not sure why he thought this was a good place to put it, but it sure made me laugh to find it there.
Oh, how I love these boys!

Tuesday, May 1, 2012

Tuesday Tidbit: Getting Unstuck from a Rut

We have been in limbo for over a year now. Our house has been on the market. My work situation has changed. My husband is looking for a new job, and we are waiting, and waiting, and waiting for news on this waiver we've applied for on Levi's behalf (looonnggg story). Many other decisions depend on the outcome of those situations. I feel stuck in a rut and gaining 20 pounds has been only one of the bad side-effects for me.

How Do You Know If You Are in a Rut?
Can you remember the last time you tried something new?
Have you stopped challenging yourself?
Have you become comfortable living with unmet goals?
Do you spend more time watching others live out their dreams on television than pursuing your own?
Has average become acceptable?
Are you playing the victim?
Have you started blaming your state more on outside conditions than inside decisions?
Have you stopped playing to win?

If you answered "yes" to any of those questions, you might be in a rut. You may be in a rut at work. You may be overwhelmed with parenthood. You may be wishing you had made better choices for your health. Regardless of the reasons why, here are some ideas to help you get unstuck.
Getting Unstuck from a Rut
1. Look at it as a phase.
    If you look at this time in your life as something that will never pass, it will be much harder to break free. Take the pressure off and view the situation as something you can change & something that is temporary.
2. Take responsibility for today.
   Don't rely on outside forces for success. You have everything you need to make today a good one, and while big decisions may depend on external factors, the little things are what matter most. Make each day exceptional.
3. Break your routine.
   Get out of your bad habits by changing one step at a time. Take small steps each day towards a better life.
4. Take good care of yourself.
   It is tempting to self-destruct with bad eating habits. Many times, so-called "comfort foods" do more to make us UNcomfortable and miserable. Make healthy food choices and incorporate exercise into your daily routine.
5. Get all dolled up.
   Make an effort to look your best, it is likely to help you feel your best, too.

-April Vernon

(P. S. I appreciate you taking the time to visit my blog and would love to get even more readers. If you haven't yet, please click "join this site" on the right sidebar or "like" Living by Faith blog on Facebook. If you know anyone that might benefit from today's Tidbit, please share!)

Anderson, D. (2004). You might be in a rut if... Retrieved from:

Smith, J. (2009). Is your life stuck in a rut- 10 ways out. Retrieved from: