Welcome to my blog!

A blog about our busy family with two amazing kids, one of whom happens to have Down syndrome!

Monday, October 29, 2012

Neurology appointment

Lauren had her EEG and neurology appointment today. The EEG was normal and there was no seizure activity! YAY! I thought that would be the outcome but it's always good to hear it from the professionals.

Then we had Lauren's neurology appointment....The pediatric neurologist we saw was a complete jerk. I really really REALLY want to use another word. Let me give you a rundown of the appointment.

Pediatric Neurologist: What made you bring her in?
Me: Well, she was having some weird movements and I know infantile spasms are more common in kids with Down syndrome.
PN: And how do you know that?
Me: Well, we know quite a bit about Down syndrome. We've known she would have Down syndrome since I was 18 weeks pregnant. I definitely had time to do my research.
PN: Oh, you knew about "it" before you had her? (Meaning Down syndrome) Well, you need to lay off the Google.
Me: (Speechless!)

PN: Is she doing [insert tons of milestones]?
Me: Nope, No, Not yet, Almost, etc... (you get the idea. This part sucks sometimes.)
PN: Oh, well those are 9 month milestones, she probably doesn't do any of those yet.
Me: Yeah, she's not 9 months old yet....

PN: (After spending literally less than 2 minutes with Lauren) So, has early intervention told you that she's like a five month old?
Me: Uh, no?
PN: Yeah, she's like a five month old
Me: Well, she's really like an 8 month old with Down syndrome

PN: So we video taped the EEG. I noticed that she moved around a lot.
Me: Yep! She's always on the go!
PN: Well we can't diagnose ADHD in babies, so we'll just say she's really active.

PN: My husband's cousin's uncle (or something equally ridiculous) has a child with Down syndrome. She's 22 now. She even went to school!
(Oh, really? Does she feed herself too? Please!)

PN: We don't need to make a return appointment, but feel free to make one if you want to.
Me: No thanks.

WHAT. THE. HECK!

First of all, she never one time said Lauren's name. Second of all, who the hell are you to tell me to "lay off the Google"? How about I Google whatever the heck I feel like? And how about the fact that I read nursing articles at work about it? And telling me that my daughter is "like a five month old"? No, she isn't! She babbles, scoots, rolls over, holds her own bottle, is starting to sit up on her own. She's like Lauren, who happens to have to work a little bit harder to achieve the same goals as other babies.

And telling me that "We can't diagnose ADHD in babies, so we'll just say she's really active." Shut the frong door! That's not a joke. It's not a diagnosis to just toss around. She acted so shocked that Lauren could possibly be an active baby. What, just because she has Down syndrome? Should she just lay there, slack jawed and expressionless? Not smiling? Not moving around?

The appointment started off on a sour note because the patient questionnaire made me check the "mental retardation" box. It's so hard for me to look at Lauren and think that's she's "mentally retarded". She's not "retarded". I absolutely loathe that word. It's not that I'm in denial about her cognition, but come on! Lets do away with the archaic terms, shall we? She's a baby! Is there a magic crystal ball that allows her to see into the cognitive skills in every child's future? I doubt it.

So yeah, I'm pissed. I think that doctor needs some serious sensitivity training. For the first time I was extremely disappointed in the University of Michigan Hospital system. I've been in a terrible mood all day because of it.

Lauren and I had a long chat on the way home. I made sure to tell her that she is NOT like a five month old. She's like an 8 month old who has to work a little harder. She is amazing. We are proud of her, so incredibly proud. And just because somebody is an adult with some extra letters after their name does not mean their opinion matters to us.

Saturday, October 27, 2012

Bitterness Broken

I've posted a lot about Lauren's heart. I've posted a lot about how emotionally challenging it has been for me to truly accept and come to terms with her heart issues. I've been angry. I've been hurt. I've been sad. I've been extremely bitter. I've written about it here, herehere and here . And I'm sure I'm missing a few posts.

One post talks about how the anger, fear, bitterness and sadness about Lauren having Down syndrome has faded away. How I wished that the same feelings about Lauren's broken heart would do the same.

I feel a calmness in my soul about Lauren's heart. I thought those feelings would never dissipate but they really have. My heart is not healed of those feelings or the overwhelming fear that something else could go wrong, but I am doing so much better.

My heart is so full with life right now. I feel a sense of vitality that I wasn't sure I could possess. Ryan is in preschool and loving it. He is developing such personality! Lauren is just this vibrant energy in our lives. She has breathed new life into this family. Greg and I are really happy.

I don't have room in my heart for that kind of anger anymore. We have a full, happy life. My children are huge joy. My husband is an amazing man to have by my side. I have a job that I really enjoy. I have meaningful friendships, although I wish I had more time to nurture them. We are blessed with wonderful extended families. Where I was able to let go of the anger and the bitterness, peace and joy have taken root.

Martin Luther King Jr said, "Never succumb to the temptation of bitterness." It really is tempting. Holding onto my bitterness and anger allowed me to feel justified. And there are still times where it sneaks back into my heart. But where bitterness engulfed me I had no room to grow. Yet none of us is promised a life without pain. I can't pinpoint exactly when I let go, but I feel so much more free and open. I feel a lightness that wasn't there before. And as the Rolling Stones taught us about life, "You can't always get what you want. But if you try sometimes, you might find, you get what you need."

I need joy.

Friday, October 26, 2012

A little respite

I happened to somehow land 4 days off in a row from work this week. I'm in the middle of it now. I worked Wednesday night and I don't work again until Monday night. I really feel like I needed this! It's so easy when life gets crazy to just stress out about having to do x, y and z. Or having to go to a, b and c.

Both kids had a sleepover with Grandma and Grandpa last night. Greg and I went out to dinner and watched the baseball game. I slept until 10:30 this morning! I might be embarrassed if I wasn't so well rested.

This evening we got Thai carryout, cleaned up the kitchen and our bedroom then went to the mall just because we felt like it! Ryan got to play with a really cool train table at Von Maur and Greg and I both got coffee. Lauren snoozed in her carseat and then was passed back and forth between Greg and I as we argued over who got to hold her. Now both kids are in bed and I'm catching up on Pit Bulls and Parolees. I might watch some Dateline NBC afterwards. I have nothing that I absolutely have to do. And it feels amazing!

Tomorrow the agenda is going out to breakfast as a family and then bundling up and walking around and playing in the park. We'll take the kids to see my grandparents, who recently moved to Michigan after 20+ years in Tennessee. I'll probably take Lauren grocery shopping. Sunday we're having dinner with about 20 of Greg's family members.

Basically, this is like a vacation from real life. I LOVE it! Life starts back up again Monday with doctor's appointments, work for both of us, preschool, classes for Greg, therapy...you get the idea. But now for it's amazing to just enjoy this little break.

Ryan as I picked him up from his sleepover with Grandma and Grandpa. He did not want to come home!
 
Lauren came with me to pick up our dinner!

Thursday, October 25, 2012

Apple bottom jeans (jeans!)...boots with the fur (with the fuuurr!)

This post needs no caption. Other than I should probably include that it was well over 60 degrees outside but I really wanted her to wear her new boots!

Tuesday, October 23, 2012

Early Intervention

It's Tuesday...therapy day!!! I love Tuesdays because by the time Lisa, Lauren's teacher leaves, baby girl is tired and I am happy. Ryan's nap time is right over therapy time and then Lauren sleeps after. Any time both kids nap at the same time is the best time of day. Most of the time therapy day leaves me feeling so proud of Lauren's progress. Sometimes I get a little down because of what she isn't doing yet, but usually I can just be happy with where she is. Today was a happy day!

Lauren did great today! She's doing really well with practicing sitting up. Lisa brought us a big box that used to hold paper. Greg used an exacto knife to cut it down so it's smaller and then cut a big spot for Lauren's legs- and an instant tray table was born! It's great, we can put toys on it and Lauren sits with her back against the couch and her tray table over her.

Lisa gave us some handouts from a book she used to have about good finger food options for Lauren's age and development since we've started with self-feeding. We went out to lunch today with Aunt Bubbles and Baby Cousin and miss Lauren sat in a restaurant high chair for the first time!!! We used a high chair cover (sorry, Aunt Bubbles, for getting mashed up graham cracker on your fresh out of the box high chair cover) and put some blankets next to and behind her for support. She loved it! That is, until she hated and it and demanded to be carried around.

It was funny, today was really the first time that I had a totally typical mom-of-an-8-month-old-girl day. Lauren was being an absolute diva this morning. She would throw her toys and then cry because she didn't have them. She wanted me to watch her play all day and would cry if I did anything else. Hello, girlfriend, you are not the only kid here! By the time we left for lunch I think we all needed some time out of the house! It's kind of nice to have days where she doesn't meet the "they're always so happy" stereotype. (Next time she has a day like this I'll deny I ever said that!!!)

And while we were eating a big family walked past our table and were commenting how cute Lauren was. One of the girls (she was maybe 13) turn and whispered to her mom, "Mom! Does that baby have Down syndrome?" I loved it! I can seriously picture in a few years Lauren and all of her rapidly increasing attitude yelling "Yes, I do!!" in situations like that!

We could use some thoughts and prayers if you can spare them. Lauren goes Monday for an EEG (electro-encephalogram) and a neurology appointment. She's been having some movements that lead her pediatrician to want her evaluated for infantile spasms (a seizure disorder). I don't think her movements look anything like infantile spasms (there are youtube videos) but it's always better to be safe than sorry. Lisa said she doesn't see any signs or symptoms of seizure activity, which put my mind at ease. I could also use some prayers that the appointment ends by 1pm (it's supposed to) so that I have time to get to Ryan's preschool by 2pm. It's Halloween day at school and I really want to be able to participate.
Enjoying a graham cracker for the first time! Molly, her doggie cousin did not understand why they couldn't share!
 
 
Oh, I almost forgot! I asked Lisa about how school would work once Lauren turns 3. I've just been wondering lately. I think we're going to want her in a special ed preschool class simply because of smaller class sizes and I worry about her making friends with special needs. I wanted to make sure we'd have the option to choose that for her. We know tons of kids her age but all of them are typical, which is fine. But I want her to have friends with special needs too. Get this...When Lauren starts preschool transportation is provided since it's public school...which means she will take a school bus!!! I almost cried just hearing about it! How incredibly CUTE! I started imagining my tiny little Lauren wearing a backpack and taking a school bus..and I'm so happy she's only 8 months old.
 
Ryan looks adorable with his Thomas backpack! I can't belive my kiddos are growing up so fast.

Monday, October 22, 2012

Making connections

Yesterday I went to Target with my twin sister and the two babies. Ryan was hanging out with Greg.

We shop, wander around and get things we don't need (is it possible to not do this at Target?!) and head to the front to cash out.

Our cashier had special needs. I don't think she has Down syndrome but I couldn't say for sure. Her line is definitely not the fastest but it's usually pretty long :) I like that!

Anyway.. So we're in line and we get to the front and she automatically says in a somewhat monotone voice, "I like your babies.". It made me think that maybe somewhere along the line in her job training they told her to compliment the customers or something, I know when I worked retail we were supposed to. I also probably had the same tone to my voice- it gets old having to talk to people after a while!

But then she really looked at Lauren and it was like a lightbulb went off for her. She said, "I really like your baby!" She definitely noticed that Lauren had Down syndrome and it was awesome! It just totally made our day!

And then we got to the car and Amanda realized that she was a theif and accidentally stole a can of beans, a can of corn and a pumpkin carving kit. And she made ME go back in and pay for them! Hahaha. This happens to her way more than anyone normal and it's always at Target. I think they probably have her name and picture in their loss prevention department. LOL!

Sunday, October 21, 2012

This deserves a post all on it's own

PIGTAILS!!!!!
 
She looks like a baby catepillar!

New Do!

Lauren now officially has enough hair to wear clips!!! I'm so excited!!!
 
Socks are so delicious.
 
So are baby cousins!
 
 

And I forgot to add this picture of the kids at the park last week playing with their grandpa!
 
It's been a busy week! Tonight we're carving pumpkins with Greg's family and then I'm also working tonight. Tomorrow I get to be the classroom parent for Ryan's preschool!
 
 

Friday, October 19, 2012

The right to choose.

Here in the U.S. women currently have "the right to choose". I'm not going to tell you my opinion in pro-life vs pro-choice. The point is that we have the right to choose.

So why do women feel judged, persecuted, ridiculed and not supported if they choose life? The right to choose should be just that. Instead many people in society and the medical community push the right to terminate.

We were very lucky (why does this have to be rare?) that we felt extremely supported in our decision to continue our pregnancy. I've heard from several women that when receiving a Down syndrome diagnosis that their doctors immediately said something to the effect of, "When do you want us to schedule your termination?". How is that supporting our right to choose?

Being given outdated and often grossly incorrect information while counseling a woman that she has a choice is just as bad. Women are told that their child will amount to nothing more than an empty husk of a person. And it's. Just. Not. True.

Luckily there are people today that are really making a difference. They're showing women what it's really like to make a choice of life. We received wonderful information from the genetic counselor at University of Michigan Hospital. She immediately offered to put us in contact with a woman who made the same choice we did. We were given books, websites, tissues, hugs and privacy. Never ending support. I met a community of women who knew exactly how I felt.

Our families rallied around us like we'd never imagined. We had friends praying for us every single day. People dropped off books that they thought we would like. Our church family let us know how excited they were to meet our little girl. We talked up how great it would be to be a big brother to Ryan. Everyone loved this sweet little baby growing in my womb. How could we have known that she'd turn into Lauren? It's really hard to have a prenatal diagnosis sometimes because you go through the grieving process without a baby to hold. It's so easy to be come terrified of the stereotype.

And then, as if by magic, when you deliver your "diagnosis"...she turns into a baby. A beautiful, pink, chubby baby. Who cries, eats, poops and sleeps. Then she turns into this awesome little girl who cuddles, plays, babbles, steals food from our plates, shares toys with her brother. Sleeps on her tummy with her feet hanging out of the crib. Gives messy, wet kisses to people she loves. Expresses absolute joy when the cat comes close by. Chases her aunt's dog around the living room. Nibbles on her baby cousin. Smells like lavender. Splashes in the bathtub and stares at her mama with wonder.

She becomes a person. The best choice I ever could've made, don't you think?

Wednesday, October 17, 2012

Swings!!

Lauren got to try the swings at the playground for the first time today!! She LOVED it!


And here's Ryan's first time on the swings!

The October I Never Thought I'd Have

When we got Lauren's diagnosis I thought our lives were over. I thought we'd never go on trips, we'd never go to the zoo, never go to a cider mill, never go out to dinner, spend time with friends....You get the idea. I imagined a dull life at home with a child who couldn't go anywhere. Well I absolutely promise that we have done all of those things since Lauren was born!

So today was amazing because it was Lauren's first time at a pumpkin patch!

 Ryan loved it, as usual. He was talking about riding a pony nonstop since I told him about our plans yesterday. I love seeing him so excited! He got to ride once when we got there and once before we left.
Lauren had her first pony ride too! I assure you that we were not squashing the tiny little horse. I was standing next to them!
And Lauren apparently LOVES pumpkins!
 
 
Cheers to all the things that a person with Down syndrome CAN do!
 
 
 
 



Tuesday, October 16, 2012

Catching up

I have been so bad at actually doing the 31 for 21! I don't think I have enough to say to actually blog every day. My life is so not that interesting. Also we were out of town.

Lauren's therapy went pretty good today! I sometimes feel like she isn't really making any progress and that makes me sad. I know it's irrational, but I've caught myself wondering, "What if she never ever sits up on her own, crawls or walks? What if she's just like this, forever?!" I know she'll do things in her own time but sometimes I wish I didn't have to be so patient. It can be a challenge for me to have patience.

But guess what Lauren did last night?! She was sitting in her high chair while we were eating dinner. I decided to give her some puffs to see if she could pick them up. I've been feeding her little bites of pancake, biscuit or anything else we eat but I haven't really let her try to self feed in a while. The last time I tried was maybe a month ago and she was nowhere close to being able to do it.

So I put a bunch of puffs on her tray and let her explore. She grabbed one with her whole hand and actually brought it to her mouth! She probably would've gotten it in but I was so excited that I screamed and it scared her. She missed her mouth and it stuck to her face! Hahaha. I love this girl! She was doing so good. She kept getting them in her hands, getting so excited and then totally forgetting that she was supposed to eat it. She'd just grab another one. It was so adorable!!

I was so excited to tell Lauren's therapy teacher about it! Lisa was just as excited as I was! She gave us the go-ahead to start with some more textured foods. She suggested mashing a banana or a sweet potato and letting Lauren play and explore with some different textures. She said to help Lauren learn to get it into her mouth and know that she's supposed to eat it. I am so excited for this! The pediatrician told us last month to wait until either she or the therapy teacher gave the go-ahead to try foods other than purees. I think it's because babies with Down syndrome can have "floppy airway" issues. I didn't totally listen since we've been giving her bites of pancakes. But I'm glad we have the real "permission" to try some new foods!

I was anticipating this so I bought a big butternut squash to bake. I'll probably make some into a puree but now I'm so excited to know that I can mash it up and let Lauren try it! We've been given the advice to let her eat while naked...I think it's going to get pretty messy around here.

Here's a picture from our weekend. We were at Uncle Blake and Aunt Wendy's wedding! Ryan was too busy dancin to stop for a photo:

Here's a picture of Ryan before we left. We were out to eat and he wanted to sit by himself...until Aunt Chelsea came to sit with him and then he was in heaven!
 
And in honor of the amazing month of October- here's Ryan and I on his very first Halloween! I can't believe this will be his third Halloween! He was a dragon the first year, a monkey last year and this year he'll either be a rooster or a police man. We have both so he'll get to choose the day of.
 

Isn't he the cutest little dragon you've ever seen?!

Sunday, October 14, 2012

21 Things About Lauren

In honor of Down syndrome awareness month I'll tell you 21 things I've learned about Lauren in the 8 months since she made her debut.

1. Lauren loves peas, green beans, pears, pancakes and biscuits.
2. She has been to the zoo 4 times already.
3. She loves giving huge, wet, open mouth kisses.
4. She does what we call the "happy dance". This dance is almost always performed in just a diaper, naked if she's lucky. She wiggles her hips and arms and smiles so big! She's been doing this since she was about 3 months old.
5. She loves to play with her brother's toys! He does not enjoy the same enthusiasm for sharing.
6. She has no teeth but can chew pancakes like a pro.
7. She has been recognized at church as "The Facebook Baby"! Yep, she's famous already!
8. Rolling is her primary mobility skill and she is the quickes roller I've ever seen.
9. Her hair has changed from red to blonde to brown and now it's looking strawberry blonde. It's really red in the sunlight!
10. She is the favorite granddaughter on both sides. (She is also the only granddaughter!)
11. Purple is her favorite color. Okay, probably not really but it's my favorite color to dress her in!
12. She's never met a stranger and can be coaxed to smile by just about anybody.
13. Her eyes are the most amazing shade of blue. She has tiny white spots in her irisis that someone once told us look like little galaxies. I totally agree!
14. Lauren absolutely loves her big brother. She stares at him with amazement and eyes full of love. I'm pretty sure he is her favorite person in the world.
15. She may or may not have tried ice cream this weekend.
16. The first solid food she ever ate was guacamole...which I let her lick from a tortilla chip.
17. She likes to gnaw on carrots and celery, I think it feels good on her gums.
18. It is an absolute guarantee that she'll laugh if you face her towards you and toss her in the air (you have to catch her though!)
19. Lauren has a cousin that is less than 5 months younger than her. Remembering how I was with my cousins, I'm sure she will never let him forget those pesky 5 months.
20. Her very favorite toy is Sophie the Giraffe. A close second is Green Tiger, who is...you guessed it! A green tiger. She only gets to play with him when big brother Ryan is sleeping!
21. Oh yeah, she has Down syndrome!

And, duh. She cheers for the Detroit Tigers!!!

Tuesday, October 9, 2012

Relief?

When Ryan was a baby I was so worried about if he was doing things at the "right" time. I think part of that was just being a first time parent and part of it was just human nature to compare. I post on a message board for parents and it's grouped by birth month. With Ryan I remember thinking that he was really behind (gross motor and speech were challanging for him) and it stressed me to no end! I was worried that I was doing something wrong. He crawled at almost 11 months, walked at 14 months and didn't really talk at all until he was 2. Now he runs like a maniac and talks pretty much nonstop. He says awesome things too! He is so creative and has an awesome imagination. But it was a little hard for me to let go and realize he would just do things at his own pace. I can't believe I worried about him being behind!

I find it a little easier with Lauren. I still post on the same message board and for Lauren's birth month she is obviously a little behind on some skills. She has a tough time with gross motor skills. She's not sitting up unsupported yet, she can't crawl, she refuses to bear weight on her legs most of the time. And you know what? I'm surprisingly okay with it! She babbles up a storm. She, according to my sister, said gator today- while chewing on a plastic alligator and my sister telling her to say it! While I think she just so happened to be babbling and ga-ta could be interpreted as gator, how exciting! She loves toys. She is the cuddliest baby I personally have ever met. I think as a second time parent it's a little easier to let go and relax. I wish I was this calm about stuff with Ryan, I would've enjoyed his babyhood more.

It's almost like Down syndrome provides a safety net and little bit of relief for me. Is that crazy? I don't stress about her not meeting milestones on time. I don't worry if she's behind kids in her age group. I can't compare her to typical kids. It's not that I have low expectations, I really don't feel like I do! I just enjoy things more and don't worry so much about the timeline. It's so easy for me to give advice to parents and say that babies are all different and do things at their own pace. But I sure wouldn't have taken that advice almost 3 years ago when Ryan was born.

Now I have little feathers of worry that what if I really do just have low expectations? See what I mean?! As parents we second guess ourselves way too much!

Signs

Some people in the Down syndrome community say they had feelings of "just knowing" their baby would have Down syndrome, or they just knew that something was different. I think that's so amazing! I really wish I would've had that. But as I look back I definitley agree that hindsight is 20/20. I'll tell you some of the subtle signs that lead me to believe I have been prepared for this journey for a long while. Well, now that I look back I think some of them are not so subtle!

-I've always been interested in Down syndrome. It's hard to explain. If I saw someone out and about with Down syndrome I would always try to sneak a glance. I was probably one of "those" people that stared. Not with any malice, just curiosity.

-My very best friend growing up, Kristen, had an uncle with special needs. Uncle Mike didn't have Down syndrome though. He was so so sweet. I remember her mom, Debbie, telling my twin sister and I about Uncle Michael before the first time we met him. Debbie had picked us up from our house and she was taking us to her house for a sleepover. She said, "My brother Michael was born different but he's just your Uncle Michael, okay?" I must've been maybe 5 years old. I remember not understanding what she meant by "born different". I honestly thought she meant that the process of him being born was different and that he was born out of his mom's ear (?!?!). Cut me some slack, I was 5!! I was puzzled. Then when I met him I remember, clear as if it were yesterday, that she meant he only looked different. I felt much more comfortable with him looking different than what my little 5 year old mind was imagining. And you know what? He was really and truly just our Uncle Michael. I know Debbie's world lost a little bit of light when Michael passed away. He made a big impact in this world.

-Another best friend, Sarah, has a cousin with Down syndrome. I don't even ever remember learning that Jonathan had Down syndrome, it was kind of a non issue. He's a good guy. The last time I saw him was at his grandma's funeral, before we were even pregnant with Lauren. We had a normal conversation that would take place between two friends who hadn't seen each other in some time. Right after we got Lauren's diagnosis I remember thinking that if she turned out anything like him then we would do pretty good in life.

-When I was in my pediatric rotation in nursing school I had the sweetest patient ever. Well, she wasn't even my patient but I could not make myself stay out of her room! She was this adorable 3 year old girl with beautiful long blonde hair and an extra chromosome. I remember being enthralled with her hair, it was so long and thick. She looked like a miniature porcelain Rapunzel. Oh, and I was pregnant with Lauren at this time and didn't know it yet. I get goosebumps thinking about it.

-The night before our anatomy scan I went out to dinner with my twin sister. (Keep in mind we had done absolutely no early screening so we had no clue that Lauren had Down syndrome).Out of nowhere she said, "What if you have your ultrasound tomorrow and the  baby has Down syndrome?" No joke, that really happened. We had a long talk and both agreed that the baby (it feels so weird not to call her Lauren but we didn't even know for sure she was a girl yet!) would be a blessing either way. I think she said something along the lines of, "Some babies just need a little more love!". We found out at around 8:30 the next morning that our baby Lauren did indeed have Down syndrome. When I called her at work before I had the amnio I think both of us were thinking about our conversation the night before in total shock.

So, at the risk of sounding like a lunatic... I think my heart has been being prepared for Lauren for my entire life. I just didn't know it until September 26, 2012. I was meant for her and she was meant for me. And I wouldn't have it any other way.

(I had to post this picture again, I am obsessed with this little girl!!)

Sunday, October 7, 2012

Buddy Walk!!!!

We had a great time at the Buddy Walk!! We had 20 people walk with us- 22 if you count babies not yet born! Can you even believe that?!

Team Lauren Hope
 
Some of my BFF's. Jayme, Amanda, Baby Jesus, Me, Greg, Lauren, Sarah and Kate
 
Lauren loved the chilly weather and meeting new friends.
 
Look at this beautiful girl!
 
Greg and I. Have I mentioned how much I love this guy?! A lot!
 
Overall we had a really good time. Next year I want to try to meet more people. I feel like I only spoke with 2 or 3 people I didn't already know! We had a great time and afterwards my awesome parents had 13 of us over for pizza! My dad put his back out this morning so he was unable to walk, he was so disappointed. He still got a Team Lauren Hope shirt and he does look pretty great in pink ;)
 
Thank you so much for all of the friends who walked, donated, cheered us on! We definitely feel the love and we know how blessed we are.
 
 

Fall Family Fun!

I skipped a day of 31 for 21! This is such a fun and busy weekend for us. Yesterday was my grandma's surprise 80th birthday party!!! It was SO fun! My cousin Emily even flew in from Colorado! It was at my aunt's house. They live kind of in the middle of nowhere, which makes for a perfect fall party. We went on hayrides, had a campfire, watched baseball and ate cake! Perfect party! I was exhausted though, I worked 12 hours Friday night, slept for 3 hours and then we headed to the party. Thank God for coffee!!! I don't have any pictures of Lauren from the party, she was passed around a lot!

Ryan hate a great time on the hayride with GrandmaPam and Pa!!
And today is the Buddy Walk!!! We are so excited! I'll try to take lots of pictures and do a whole post about it. It's a chilly 55 degrees today but it's supposed to be sunny!

Friday, October 5, 2012

Go Team Lauren!!!!

We here at Meeting Lauren have some super awesome friends! Some friends and family got together and ordered and paid for team shirts for the Buddy Walk this Sunday! They even got some onesies so Lauren and some other adorable babies can wear team shirts as well.


Do we have the very best friends or what?!

A few days ago I was a little sad because I thought nobody was walking with us. Turns out I just needed to have a little faith in our support system!

Wednesday, October 3, 2012

They're always so...



I dislike hearing that kids with Down syndrome are always:

So happy!
So strong.
So stubborn.
Sick.
So sweet!
So cute!!!


Ick.

Lauren is happy a lot of the time. But always? Heck to the no. Wouldn't that be nice? If you think she's always happy I would be happy to invite you over around 3:15pm on any given Tuesday when she is absolutely sick and tired of therapy.

So strong? Yeah, she's got a good grip. But people act like "special needs people" have this crazy amount of physical strength. I won't tell you the phrase I've heard instead of the one in parentheses. I'm pretty sure most babies develop a pretty good grip!

Lauren is pretty stubborn. So is my husband. And my son. As well as a few other people we know.

Always sick- Lauren has been sick. She's been really sick. But always? No. She gets stuffy noses. But there are underlying causes for illnesses. An extra chromosome doesn't magically make somebody have a cold.

So sweet! Yes, Lauren is extremely sweet. A lot of the time! But again, I don't think this is due to her extra chromosome. I think it's because she has an amazing personality!

So cute? Okay, I'll give you this one. Kids with Down syndrome are extremely cute. But keep in mind that it's pretty rude to call an adult cute. It's patronizing, you know? Puppies are cute. People with Down syndrome grow up to be real adults with adult responsibilites, adult feelings and adult personalities.

The point is that generalizations rarely pan out. Absolutes like always or never pretty much suck. Any good qualities that my kids have (and there are a lot of good qualities!) are a testament to their personalities more than anything.

Think of it this way. If someone saw your child acting very well behaved and said to you, "They're always so sweet!" wouldn't you be thinking something along the lines of "Who are you, why do you know how my kid "always" is and feel free to come over for dinner if you want your mind changed!"


Lauren's first modeling job!

 
See that adorable baby above? It's Lauren! It's from her very first modeling job! She also got to model a headband, a bow and she and I modeled a mommy necklace. The company is Saja Baby and they are amazing! Look at their website at www.sajababy.com They make beautiful headbands, bows, hats, bracelets, bow ties, nursing covers, and mommy necklaces. Every single one of the headbands you've seen Lauren wearing in my pictures are from Saja Baby!
 
On top of making beautiful, quality items they are spreading Down syndrome awareness: People with Down syndrome can be models too!
 
The amazing owners of this company, Sarah and Jayme, brought tons of headbands and bows for Lauren to wear during her 5 week hospital stay. Amazing, huh?

Tuesday, October 2, 2012

Therapy Day!!

It's Tuesday you know what that means!! Okay, well if you don't now...Tuesday is therapy day!!

Lauren's teacher comes over for about an hour and Lauren can work on sitting up (that's our goal right now), feeding issues, etc... Lisa, the teacher, recommended Hip Helpers for Lauren which we should be getting in the mail very soon!

Check out www.hiphelpers.com for more info. I really think Lauren will be able to get up onto all fours much easier with hip helpers. She can push straight up on her arms but she can't get her legs close enough together. Hip helpers will keep her hips closer together and hopefully make it easier for her to pop up onto all fours!

Lots of kids with Down syndrome use hip helpers as a therapy tool.

Also, Lauren went to her helmet doctor yesterday. We might only need to use the helmet for 6 more weeks!! Not that she seems to mind it too much. But I'm more than ready to see her hair more often, especially since it's growing in so nicely. I can almost do a little pony tail!

Monday, October 1, 2012

Buddy Walk is coming up!!

The buddy walk is coming up!! Online registration is over but you can still register to walk with us the day of the walk! Here's the link with details:

http://www.firstgiving.com/DSST/2012BuddyWalk

Lauren says "Please walk with me!"