Friday, September 26, 2014

Sharing Down Syndrome Walk 2014

Some things in life are worth some pain! Due to our many doctor appointments we knew baby girl had dropped and I was fully effaced but not dilated. With the Down Syndrome walk being just a week from my 36 week mark (when it would be safe for baby girl to come) we decided to go. I've paid for it since, but I have no regrets in going. The kids were so excited to celebrate Eli and all he brings to our family that they fought to push his stroller into the Diablo stadium. I set up camp in my chair while they wandered and enjoyed the treats and games. I visited with other moms and families.

Our primary care physician, Dr Vargas was awarded for his work with kids with DS. The Larsen family, my first contact when we found out Eli's diagnosis, referred him and also presented him the award. He really has been a great doctor, so willing to take the time to address all our concerns and whats more, his knowledge at the clinic has made all the doctors there among some of the best by those parents who have consistantly recommended Cactus Childrens Clinic for their special needs kids.

A shot of all those waiting for the walk. Wish I could have done it with them, next year!

Eli's newest shirt: My extra chromosome makes me extra cute! What I really wanted was one of the Keep Calm It's Only and Extra Chromosome shirt but they didn't have them in his size. Still this is fitting for my little man. With the field so empty Kent let Eli have the freedom in running about as he pleased. I'm glad he did, but it sure wore him out keeping up with him. I barely got this shot of him as is!

While the field was empty, Kent and the kids took the time to enjoy some of the games. This was the first year I've ever seen Eli really participate after watching someone else try. He seemed to really enjoy it and so good for his social development. Anything with a ball or some water was a winner for him!

It was unusually hot and humid so we hung around the water getting iced down literally on and off. Isaac recieved full permission to spray us with his newly won prize.

It was such a fun morning for our whole family! Extra sciatic pain and contractions can't take these memories from me. I'm so glad we could celebrate our little professor and our family and all it's adventures!

Monday, September 15, 2014


Just prior to Labor Day I had two weeks that left such an impression on me of the power of perspective. Over seven years ago I taught piano to help ease us through the school years. I had two students back then I was rather fond of and as the years have passed I've seen them go through college and different relationships to finally find the one they wished to commit to for time and all eternity. I was truly happy to see them so filled with joy and peace in regards to their decision. Their receptions were within days of each other and had Kent and I thinking back to our beginning nearly eleven years ago. The future was so open, unknown but exciting and what was more, we had someone to share that with that would make all the experiences ever so much more meaningful.

Then the following week felt a bit like a free fall, frightening in its speed but each moment seemed to pass with such a strong impression to almost make time freeze. Two friends of mine both lost their fathers on the same day. One had just gotten back within days of seeing him in Thailand, the other who spends time with her dad ona weekly basis had spoke on the phone within less than an hour of his passing. I was hit again when I found out a friend of my had lost her baby in utero at 36 weeks. Perhaps because she was only six weeks ahead of me in pregnancy, or because she had found out back in May that her baby boy would have Down Syndrome and our little community had drawn around her as she wholeheartedly took up this new adventure - whatever the reason, it struck me deeply. I ached for all my friends knowing there was little I could do.

Suddenly it seemed that all of life IS moments, moments that can pass and be meaningless if I'm too caught up in the doing rather than the being. My petty complaints of the aches and pains of pregnancy, or the troubles of children all seemed irrelevant from an eternal point of view. I was healthy, baby girl was well, kiddos, despite some challengesare all doing good, we all had each other. What's more, I wanted to remember to enjoy that time together, for however long I'm blessed to journey with them.

So here are a few of those moments I want to remember:
We've struggled this last while helping him with his ADHD, and sometime it easy to focus on that rather than the beautiful things that make him who he is. With all his barely contained enthusiasm, I am often literally bowled over by his hugs in greeting, especially in my current pregnant state. And while its sometimes painful, embarrassing (especially when I'm in a dress!) I'm grateful to be loved so openly. I don't know if he'll always be this affectionate but I know his openly loving heart is a treasure to have.
We've just recently learned that Keila's hearing is poor and are thankful to have appointments in place to help us figure it all out. The thing is, there are many funny moments that stem from this trouble, for insistence this conversation from a book we were reading with a saber tooth tiger-
Me: So something happened on earth to make the dinosaurs and saber tooth tigers go extinct
Keila: the thing is ...what makes them stink Mama? Why would they die from it? Can being too stinky kill?
Of course I try and clarify but the 'x' sound is so hard to hear that she will in exasperation s say, "STINK! That's what I said! You need to check your ears Mama!"
Or this other conversation the we had when we needed to get running shoes and church shoes, "Mama, the best kind of shopping is shoe shopping. I think I'm in love!" Meanwhile I hear smacking noises as she kisses he brand new shoes!
One of Eli's favorite finger play is the one about the monkeys who tease the alligator. Of course the alligator snatches them right out of the tree which always brings a smile to his face. He's begun to understwnd what it means to tease and will use the sign from the song when he feels his siblings are teasing him. In turn, he has decided he can dish it out as well and loves to climb into my lap to blow raspberries on my cheek pulling back to see that he gets the appropriate response. It always turns into a war of raspberries, with wet cheeks (and sometimes bellies!) and giggles until he can't stand it anymore.
I could not ask for a more loving father for my children. I always smile, no matter how exhausted I am as I listen to and watch him play with them. Lately it's games of chess with Isaac, with Keila he snuggles up and brushes her hair telling her of that things that bring true beauty to this adored daughter. I've not been able to pick up Eli so much with this pregnancy so the little man has learned to seek out Kent and squeals with delight at the dancing and spinning that is sure to ensue. He loves us and we know it, however brief the time he has with them during the day to spend with us he makes it mean something.

Simply put, life is good. Really its a blessing we can love, laugh, cry, tease, fight and yell at each other. I will treasure these moments. Everyone always says ow quickly time will pass and these things will be only memories so I will take them as they come, the whole roller coaster ride!

Thursday, September 4, 2014

Labor Day in Tucson

I have sturggled with being blue and lonely these last few weeks with all the preterm labor. Thankfully the meds are helping to keep things in check and since Kent was required to take Labor Day off (we try and bank as many days possible with baby 4 on the way) I was desperate for a change in scenery. Tiffany and Darin Law hark back to our days in Albuquerque and through the years we've managed visit on and off. They belong to that group of classic friends, the news where no matter the changes or passage of time we can always get together again and pick up like we never left each other. Since the last time we saw them was back just after Eli was born, it was long overdue, we booked a hotel and headed out for three days.

Isaac has developed an obsession with rocks and minerals and apparently Tucson is well known for its Gem and Mineral shows. It was his dream come true to visit this shop out near old Tucson where his $5 budget was well met by a generous shop owner who filled the kiddos hearts and hands with agates. Isaac hopes to make a chime with his. Although Old Tucson was closed we stopped by the gift shop for a little fun.

After lunch and a little shopping we met up with the Law girls for a swim. It was funny how Isaac could not remember their last name until he hit upon the fact it was synonymous with 'rules'. Thereafter the Laws became the Rules and they official ruled! We had a lovely dinner later that evening where we chatted up old times.

Sometimes it is the simplest things when good friends get together. Food, some toys for kids, old memories to relive and new ones made - it was a perfect sunday!

On our way out the following day we took their advice to stop in at the Rooster Cogburn Ostrich Ranch for some animal fun. Keila was n heaven being able to feed and pet so many animals. Isaac was cautious around the more aggressive ones but he enjoyed feeding the deer by hand and Eli was filled with wonder. He giggled with delight when the goats ate from his hand and since then he goes daily to the cupboards to grab a treat to feed out pet rabbit, Sunshine. He finally is grasping what we mean when we say animal noises and I hope his learning to mimic them will help his speech along. The Lorakeets were our favorite animal by far!

It was a great impromptu trip. We hope to see the Laws soon again and if not, it'll just be an excuse to repeat this last trip!