Wednesday, December 11, 2013

What I Don't Have to Say

I keep wondering why I don't blog as much as I have in the past. I think it is partly because Facebook is faster and easier. Another big part is that I don't have much to say...and that is a good thing. When I started really doing some intense writing here, it was because I was navigating my way through this new world of parenting a child with Down syndrome. I had causes to support. I had beliefs to share. I had a mission of let everyone know that we were going to be okay. The more I shared that, the more I felt it and believed it in my heart. Maybe I'm not blogging much anymore because I don't feel like I have to prove that we are okay. We really are okay.
Levi in his Bible class
I am not sad about any milestones Levi has yet to reach, because I am even prouder of the way he makes people feel and the way I see him light up people's eyes when they talk about him. I am not overwhelmed with all the doctor's appointments because the doctor's and nurses are also crazy about him, and I've become accustomed to the busy schedule that comes along with Levi's health issues. I am not worried about his future, because I am okay with whatever the future holds for us. I am not pushing complete independence for him in his adulthood because in all reality, he may always need some sort of support. That has taken a huge weight off my shoulders because I no longer feel like I am failing him if he can't do every single thing other people his age can do. It is just our reality, and it is okay. Each day I am with him, the more I want to hold on to him forever, anyway!

Lately we have been doing some home improvements and decorating. I have been having fun with trying to get my wardrobe updated, and have actually put some Pinterest ideas to use. I hope to make my blog more about me and add some variety. Maybe a few informational posts here and there like I used to do, but I want to break away from the mother-of-a-kid-with-Down-syndrome box. Maybe I'll blog more and feel less pressure to do what I've always done in this space.

Big brother is enjoying all things Christmas. I have been waking up to his conversations with Chip, his elf, and I am savoring the magic. We have a lot of fun ahead of us.

Friday, November 22, 2013

Hello Again!

We have been one busy family...
We've done a lot of traveling lately.
Levi is loving pre-school.
Adam is learning & growing at home.
Halloween was fun.
The Walk for Down Syndrome was a huge success.
Levi is really moving forward with his speech & can tell us the sounds most letters make. Adam is adding, subtracting & progressing with his reading. I am happily busy & am looking forward to the holidays. We've gotten some projects done around the house, and I just haven't taken the time to blog lately. Hoping to improve that and post some videos of my little guys soon. Thanks for checking in!

Friday, November 1, 2013

Down Syndrome Awareness Month

Last month was Down syndrome awareness month, but my efforts have all been going into something for tomorrow, our Walk for Down Syndrome in downtown Lexington. So if you've been wondering why I haven't been blogging much or why this post is so short, click the link below...

Sunday, October 6, 2013

Life's Evaluations

After each seminar I present, I collect between 200 and 600 of these evaluations.

Most have wonderful comments and thoughtful compliments on the impact of the training and how it will help them.

But some people complain that they weren't fed cookies in the afternoon. They have no idea that we paid over $30 per gallon of coffee that morning & that cookies would have cost us hundreds of dollars more. Most complaints come from a lack of understanding, and that really got me thinking.

I used to get so upset with just one negative comment on an evaluation but have learned that I can't make everyone happy & what some people think is a good quality ("I loved the personal stories about your family."), others think is a downfall ("too many personal stories"). I now can sift through my evaluations & shrug of the little negatives. I can now tell when I really need to step up my game just as well as I can tell if an evaluation is just filled out by someone that is never happy.

These evaluations remind me a lot about the evaluations & judgements people make on each other in life. Just a few years ago, I thought I got along beautifully with everyone I knew. I had very little conflict & would have been heartbroken to think that someone didn't like me or had something bad to say.

This year has not been so peaceful. I have had quiet conflict with some. I have had difficult friendship-ending conversations with others, but I have finally come to the conclusion that there are some people that just won't ever understand or be happy with me. Some won't ever get the background information needed to understand. Some aren't open enough to talk & repair problems. Some are so busy talking, they can't ever hear.

Like Abe Lincoln said, " Most folks are as happy as they make their minds up to be." I chose joy.

Wednesday, September 4, 2013

Hosptials & a Book Recommendation

I wrote this a couple days ago, when Levi was in the hospital. He is home now, getting a breathing treatment every four hours. We are happy to all be together again, and I am most thankful to be sleeping in my own bed! He had difficulty keeping his oxygen levels up after getting croup the week before. He was in rough shape for a while, and we are thankful he bounced back so quickly.

Adam stayed with his grandparents during that time. Grams got some cute pictures of him while he was there.
A few weeks ago, I spent several days spellbound by a book that a dear friend loaned to me. Twelve Clean Pages by Nika Maples mesmerized me and was so captivating that I am going back through it so I can let some of my favorite passages soak in even deeper. The title of the book refers to the twelve years she lived before being affected by lupus, the twelve pages left clean in her life.

The setting in the book is often a hospital or a facility of the sort. As I write this, Levi is in the hospital with low oxygen levels following a bout of croup. My nose burns from the bleached linens that permeate the room, and the intense fluorescent light glares harshly down on my keyboard. Yet my surroundings are familiar and not upsetting to me.

My fifth birthday party was at my mother's bedside in a hospital & I remember the beautiful doll she made for me in its own Moses basket & how special I felt that day. Not the typical location for a five year old's birthday party, but some very precious memories were made in that hospital. I spent a lot of time in the hospital with the complications of my first pregnancy and have been at Levi's bedside many nights sharing an uncomfortable chair that folds into a makeshift bed with my 6'2" husband. Somehow there is something peaceful about being away from the everyday chores of life and handing responsibility over to the professionals. I don't feel shaken by these experiences but feel refueled in a way. It gives me a chance to do things I normally wouldn't get to do...write a blog post for example!

Like Nika Maples says on page 27 of Twelve Clean Pages, "All trials are allowed by God. None are surprises to Him. And none are beyond Him. He can employ any circumstance for our spiritutal good. This difficulty becomes our discipline. That ache, our education. God recycles - repurposes -  everything so no pain is wasted. We must trust."

I felt that way during weeks on end of bed rest while pregnant with Adam, after years of trying to have children, we got so close to losing our first child multiple times, but I always felt peace about the situation.

In her book, Nika Maples also talks about those who have experienced "a hollowing heart wound." She observes that these people are capable of feeling more. "What is merely ladled for others is pitcher-poured into them. This is not because they have earned more joy, but because they are thirstier for it.
     "Two men fall to their knees at the edge of a river. One has crossed the lush hill country. The other, a scorching desert. Both desire the cool water's refreshment, but only one drinks with his soul." (13)

I love those thoughts. I love this book. Besides her wise words and reference to Scripture, she shares her experiences living with lupus and has the writing talent to bring you into her world to experience her life as if you were a right there in the room with her. She also shares how she became a teacher. There are great quotes & meaningful moments it in that part of the book as well. I can't imagine finding a favorite book that will top this one. Check it out!

Maples, M. Twelve Clean Pages. (2011). Noth Richmond Hills, TX: Bel Esprit Books.


Tuesday, July 30, 2013

Just Some Photos

Shaving cream + food coloring = big fun at bathtime
Levi is so creative. He tried painting with his foot!
Fun in the Yard

Monday, July 15, 2013


I am feeling weary. I am battling my weight. My mom has had a rough time lately & just got out of the hospital. Adam's tics have returned. Levi has started yelling when things aren't going his way, like the entire time I am getting him dressed. The other night, he dumped my entire dinner plate on the floor. I am getting everything ready for his Medicaid renewal, which starts next week. I am struggling with the incessant needs of two young ones that aren't very independent yet, and my heart is breaking while I watch marriages around me fall apart. All the while, I have things to get done for work and a long personal to-do list. I am praying that this cloud passes quickly, and I am thankful for a husband that helps me laugh and forgives my moods when I am no fun to be around.

Blogging is my way of focusing on the little things that make me happy. I am hoping it works for me tonight.

While I was gone at camp, Wes got Levi sleeping in his toddler bed again, but Levi still won't stay put for naps. So the pack-n-play is still up in Levi's room right beside his bed. Today the boys filled it with blankets and stuffed animals so they could jump in it and goof around.
Our little Charlie Brown...

This is Adam's kaleidoscope. It was a kit we found for him at a toy store. It was fun watching it come together. The best part was watching Wes fashion his own lens since we couldn't find the one that came with the kit. He made one from a CD case using an Exacto Knife and nail file. Very impressive!
Adam is making a heart to say, "I love you," while I take his picture.

 I worked in Knoxville this past Saturday and brought Levi & a friend along. Adam & Wes went to a baseball game with a group from the church Friday night. Thank you, Debbie for the great photos!
Snowcone lips

The Market Square area in Knoxville is a place I hope to visit again. We had a great time, and the surroundings were so visually interesting, I loved taking pictures there.
from my Instagram feed

Adam has his best buddy over the other day to swim. They had a ball. Adam had his arm around him while they ate a snack at the dinner table. Too sweet!

Adam loves to wink when his picture is being taken.
Adam helping Levi down the slide is sweet, but the best part of this picture is their daddy smiling while watching.

Jeremiah 31:25 "I will refresh the weary and satisfy the faint.” I am so very grateful for a God that cares and that has opened my eyes to the fact that there is so much more than what we see here on earth. Matthew 11:28 “Come to me, all you who are weary and burdened, and I will give you rest."