Snow!

Wednesday evening, we headed to Spokane for an early Christmas celebration with Aaron’s family.  Snow was falling for nearly our entire drive, but was getting quite deep as we approached Spokane.  Thursday morning, we woke up to about 30 inches of snow . . . and it was still coming!  The storm has brought some adventures, which I will share later, but for now I have time for a few pictures:

We are headed to Walla Walla tomorrow to spend Christmas with my family (trying to travel between the storms!), so I may not have much blogging time until we get back home next week.  Merry Christmas to all of you.  We hope you have a blessed celebration of our Savior’s birth, and stay warm and safe with all these winter storms!

Bubbi and Papa's picnic table

Bubbi and Papa's picnic table

Snow!

Snow!

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Matthew likes wrapping paper!

Matthew likes wrapping paper!

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New Diagnosis of Down syndrome? Take advantage of a Book Give-Away

Matthew was 6 months old before we thought much about the fact that he had Down syndrome.  We were elated to find out that Matthew’s heart had miraculously grown enough to be corrected by surgery, but there were also some mixed feelings.  We were more than a little overwhelmed by the fact that now we would be raising a child with Down syndrome.  What did this mean for our family?  What did we need to know?  What did we need to do?  Were we already behind, having spent the past 6 months without reading up on the diagnosis and no “early intervention” services?  Where should I start?

It was at this point that we met Libby and her family.  (See my post, Miracles and Expectations)  Libby’s son, Charlie, is 2 weeks older than Matthew, but she was way ahead of me, both emotionally and intellectually, as far as Down syndrome was concerned.

When I told her how overwhelmed and behind I felt, she said, “Don’t worry.  I’ve read lots of books, so I can tell you which ones are good and which ones to avoid.”  The first two books she placed in my hands were these:

Gifts, Mothers Reflect on How Children With Down Syndrome Enrich Their Lives, edited by Kathryn Lynard Soper.

and

Road Map To Holland, How I Found My Way Through My Son’s First Two Years With Down Syndrome, by Jennifer Graf Groneberg

These books are excellent – real stories about real families, many of them echoing our own thoughts and feelings.  Suddenly, I had not one friend, but many, many “friends” in the books who really understood.  There were people who sounded just like us, who understood our worries, but also our joys.  The more I read, the more I saw that the love, the joys, and the blessings far outweighed any hardships for these families.  If asked, the majority of them would sincerely say, “I wouldn’t change my child, even if I could.  He’s perfect exactly the way he is.”

Libby has continued to be such a blessing and support to me, and now she is reaching out to other families who are new to, or adjusting to the idea of Down syndrome.  She is generously sharing these books with other families like ours.

In Libby’s own words:

“These books are meant to be shared.  Given to a mother who receives a prenatal diagnosis and worries about what the future holds for her unborn baby.  Shared with a family that just welcomed their new baby and received an unexpected diagnosis.

A bit of hope in a sea of often outdated, biased, and negative information.”

Visit Libby’s blog, Blessings and Glory, and click on the “Sharing our Blessings” link near the top of the page, or go directly to her post, “Sharing our Blessings,” for more information.

If you are new to the Down syndrome family, I hope you take advantage of this opportunity.  I have been amazed by the welcoming and loving  community of families with Down syndrome.  There is an incredible amount of support out there, especially online through “chats” and blogs.  Join us!  Leave comments, visit our websites, and read about our families.  We are eager to share our stories, and hear yours.  We love to hear about progress, and encourage each other through more difficult times.  We especially love seeing photos of your beautiful babies and darling kids.  Welcome, welcome to our family.

Motor Skills Master

Matthew, again, has made incredible strides (*pun intended!*) with his motor skills.  The last couple weeks, he has been “crawling” on his knees instead of his tummy, and he’s starting to pull himself up to a standing position as well.  Our biggest motivator is still the bath – after we take him out of the tub, he crawls as fast as he can back to the bathroom, and pulls himself up on the side of the bathtub, trying to get back in!

A good friend also lent us a great toy – the “piano,” which is perfect for Matthew to pull himself up to a stand.  The large piano keys on the bottom also make a great “train track” for Micah’s cars!

Matthew’s therapist was here this morning, and was very impressed with how well he’s doing, and the changes she’s seen in just a couple weeks.  She thought the piano toy was perfect, and wanted to know how to get some for Children’s Villiage!  So, if anybody else is looking for a toy to help your little one pull to a stand, it’s called the “Step & Play Piano” from Fischer Price.  It comes with a seat (like an exer-saucer) for younger ones, but we removed the seat for Matthew.

Enjoy the video!

Thanksgiving Mysteries

We had a really nice Thanksgiving holiday.  My brother and his family came to stay with us Wednesday and Thursday, and my parents joined us on Thursday as well.  We had a fun visit, with lots of time to play, relax, and catch up.  We kept the meal simple, but good and filling as always!  Ham in my over-sized crock-pot, Mom’s twice-baked potatoes and rolls, Salad and relish tray, Homemade applesauce, Mom’s homemade cranberry sauce . . . topped off with pumpkin pie, cookies, and brownies!  Mmmmm!

We certainly had a lot to be thankful for this year.

However, with 7 children in our house, age 8 and under, there were some “Unsolved Mysteries” over the holiday.  Anyone want to try to help me solve these??

Mystery #1:

Who made this mess?!

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Mystery #2:

We suspected there were monkeys here . . . is this proof?

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Mystery #3:

How does Aaron quietly entertain 6 kids?

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Mystery #4:

What’s in here?

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Mystery #5:

Why do my nieces always remind me so much of their aunts (of corresponding birth-order)?

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Mystery # 6:

How does a baby go from this . . .

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. . .to this . . .

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. . . in just one short year?

Thank You, Lord, for Your Mysterious Ways!