Friday, July 26, 2013


      In five days, our sweet Bryce will be one year old. A whole year. I can't believe it. While the days surrounding his birth and diagnosis are a blur, I also remember it like it was yesterday. It's hard to fathom that it was a whole year ago. I am a different person than I was that day. That little boy has taught me so much and changed my perspective on a lot of things.

      After he was born, I felt the need to tell everyone I ran into that he has Down syndrome. I didn't want people wondering and feeling awkward. The first question most people would ask is, "and you didn't know ahead of time?". I would usually answer that it was "the worst day of my life". Now I wonder how I ever could have said such a thing. How could the day that this little blessing was born be the worst day of my life?? I think what I meant to say was that it was the hardest day of my life. That is certainly fair to say. It was definitely the hardest day of my life. I was devastated. If only I knew that day what I know now.

      Now I know that it doesn't matter. That my life as I knew was over, but not in a bad way. That this little boy was sent by God to teach me to love. To change my ways. To really SEE people. To count my blessings. Whenever I start to go down the "why us" path (which still happens occasionally), God shows me that I have it so good. There is always someone worse off than me. Bryce is healthy. All of his limbs work. He wakes up every day with a smile on his face. He cries when he hurts, and laughs when he's happy, and yells when he wants attention.He gets into things he shouldn't and makes silly faces for the camera. He is a normal baby who happens to have loose joints and goes at a slower pace. He is pure joy.

      I recently came across this poem, but there was no credit given to the author. I googled a line of it and discovered that they call it the Down Syndrome Creed. The author is unknown. It says everything I wish I could say. I wish everyone could experience loving one of these children.

 My face may be different
But my feelings the same
I laugh and I cry
And I take pride in my gains
I was sent here among you
To teach you to love
As God in the heavens
Looks down from above
To Him I'm no different
His love knows no bounds
It's those here among you
In cities and towns
That judge me by standards
That man has imparted
But this family I've chosen
Will help me get started
For I'm one of the children
So special and few
That came here to learn
The same lessons as you
That love is acceptance
It must come from the heart
We all have the same purpose
Though not the same start
The Lord gave me life
To live and embrace
And I'll do it as you do
But at my own pace.

             Happy Birthday, sweet Brycey. Thank you for choosing us!


Monday, July 8, 2013


       As with most people, I have a mental "bucket list" for the summer, but mine mostly consists of things I want my boys to achieve. For Bryce, I really really  REALLY want(ed) him to be sitting on his own by his first birthday, and I want him to be scooting/crawling proficiently by the end of the summer. For Connor, potty training and bike pedaling are the goals.

      The 4th of July is the unofficial mid-summer mark (remember, I'm still on teacher-time), and I got a little down/frustrated seeing that these goals are not being achieved. Short of a miracle, there is no way Bryce is going to be sitting on his own by the time his b-day rolls around in 3 weeks. He is so proficient at rolling to get where he wants, that I fear we won't achieve the crawling goal either, but there's still time for that one :). Connor is refusing potty training (he has amazing control though...he just held his pee for 5 hours this morning) and will hardly take his trike out of the garage, let alone pedal it. Upon thinking about these things, I started on a path of I not working with them enough? What am I doing wrong? Are my efforts actually setting them back, instead of moving them forward? It seems as though Bryce hasn't changed much since May--why is his development stalling?

    Then, the other day, I had an epiphany. Bryce's development hasn't stalled. He has been very busy, in fact. He has discovered how to be silly. He can put his pacifier in his own mouth. He has sprouted three teeth. He has become much more vocal (a really good sign for kids with DS). He can pace himself with his sippy cup. Two weeks ago, he was struggling with finger foods--now he gets about 70% of the food in his mouth on the first try. Whoa. He's developing like crazy--just not in the ways I planned.

    Connor needs to be potty trained in order to start preschool. He's just not doing it. It's a huge cause of stress for me, but I don't want to discuss it. It's too much. I want him to be able to get a bike next summer, but he doesn't want to learn to pedal. He's driving me nuts with these things. Why? Why not just revel in the amazing things that child says and does? He's hilarious. He's creative. He's so stinking smart. He may not be ready for preschool in the potty area....but he subtracts his Skittles as he eats them. He knows about canyons and geysers and measuring things by "units". He bakes imaginary cakes-measuring out all the correct ingredients. The other day, he asked me to count by 9s to 99, 8s to 88, 7s to 77, all the way down to 1s to oney-one :) He's awesome. Yes, he needs to get potty trained (prayers needed), but why should that be my only measure of his success this summer?

     We often hear about parents living vicariously through their kids. I won't necessarily need to do this, as  my parents always found a way for me to experience all I wanted to experience. But, I am certainly guilty of trying to get my kids to fit my mold....and they are doing a great job of showing me that's not necessarily how it's going to be. What wonderful lessons these little ones can teach us, if we'd only get out of our own way and listen.


Sunday, July 7, 2013

Family Time

Hi Friends,

   It's been a while! Happy Summer!

   Between Mike and I working opposite shifts and his work travels, our time as a whole family is very limited. It's hard for me to be home alone with the boys all day and then go to work, and it's hard for Mike to have to jump right in to dinner and bedtime by himself after a long day at work. I keep telling myself that it won't be forever, and our boys are so blessed to always be with one of their parents or grandparents. Despite all that, the truth is, we are all happiest when the four of us can all be together.

    Last weekend, I had the opportunity to travel to Madison, WI to work at The Color Run, which my sister-in-law directed. It was really fun, and a nice little getaway. Upon my return, I worked every evening from Sunday-Wednesday. Knowing that Mike would be leaving again for a week of work travel, we decided we needed a little family time so we took a quick trip up to Duluth on Thursday and Friday. I love Duluth in the summer time, and the time together was just what the doctor ordered.

    We picnicked by Lake Superior, walked out to the lighthouse, put our toes in the lake, checked out the train museum, swam in the hotel pool (oh my, does Bryce LOVE water!), went out for pizza, slept well in the hotel, went back to the lake, went to the Great Lake Aquarium, and saw a big ship come through before grabbing lunch and heading home.

        Usually when Mike and I get the opportunity to travel, we don't take the kids along. Other than Wisconsin and Nebraska to visit my siblings, Connor has never really gotten to go anywhere. It was so fun watching him experience new things, and he said multiple times how nice it was to be together as a family. What a blessing this little getaway was!

   I hope everyone else had a wonderful 4th of July and is enjoying the beautiful summer weather! Take care.