Welcome to my blog!

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

Saturday, May 25, 2013

It takes a village

I'm feeling so thankful today.

I firmly believe that it takes a village to raise a child. Or, at least it makes it a lot easier. Surrounding yourself and your family with people who love and care about you can only have a good outcome.

I feel this way even more after having Lauren. If it takes a village to raise a child, it takes ten villages to raise a child with special needs. At least that's true for me. Is that okay to admit?

We are blessed beyond measure and wealthy beyond tangibility when it comes to villages committed to helping us raise our children.

Having a child is tough. Having a kid with special needs can, at times, be tougher. We have a lot going on here! I'm truly not complaining, I thrive on a full schedule. We have work for me, school for Greg, school for Ryan, school for Lauren (at least they come to us!), physical therapy for both kids (Ryan gets his eval at U of M for his toe walking/tight heels next week), I'm trying to get more involved in the "extracurriculars" at work. Really, we probably don't have much more going on than your average American family. But sometimes it just feels so overwhelming!

 And somewhere in there we still need time to just be. Be a family, be a couple, be individuals, be a friend.

Not many people have parents, and I mean both mine and Greg's, that offer to watch their children for a week so they can go on a solo vacation. Or offer to keep the kids once a week every night to give mom and dad a break. Or take just one kid so that mom and dad can get solo time with each child. Our parents have taken the kids to doctor's appointments, often so that I can sleep and Greg take take the other kid to an appointment or school. I have cried to both my mom, mother in law and sister at times about how I feel like I'm failing or how I'm sometimes sad to watch Lauren struggle. We have a church family that prays for us and accepts our family for who we are. We have wonderful teachers and therapists that really want our kids to achieve their full potential.

And like I said, I love that our lives are this busy. To me, a busy home equals a full life. It's how I was raised. I have two sisters and the three of us were lucky enough to have an awesome life growing up. If my kids grow up and like me half as much as I like my parents, I'm pretty excited. We all had school sports, choir, theater classes and plays, travel sports, plans with friends, etc. You name it, we had it going on. Life was busy! Sometimes too busy but I loved it anyways. I want the same for my kids. I know I've said it before, but somehow my mom and dad got it exactly right. We always knew we were loved but we never for a moment thought the world owed us something.

I know without a doubt that Greg and I would not be able to make this hectic, crazy and full-of-love life work for our family without the help from our parents and siblings. It takes a village. It's a constant juggling act and sometimes I feel like I'll never get it quite right.

But our kids know 100%, without a single doubt that they are loved beyond measure. Ryan's face light's up when he sees my sisters. And my nephew. And my parents. And Greg's parents. And Greg's brother and his wife. A kid truly can't have too many people care about them.

There's nothing wrong with accepting help. Who knows, maybe sometimes we accept too much and take more from our village than we give back to it. I just wouldn't have it any other way.

So, thank you. Thank you from the bottom of our hearts to our parents, siblings, church and community for helping us, caring about us and investing in the lives of our children. Thank you to our parents for teaching us how to strive to be great parents. We love you!

Friday, May 24, 2013

Fun things Miss Lauren has learned to do!

I thought I'd do a quick update of all the new things Lauren has been doing lately :)

1. She can point with her index finger! It's so cute and she'll even point at something when she wants it, like her bottle, crib or the floor. She even points at my face and I kiss the tip of her cute stubby finger.

2. She can purse her lips to make a kissing face! She also does this when everyone is yelling "choo-choo!" (Can you tell we have a 3 year old boy? Haha).

3. She can pull herself up on the couch/tv stand to get to a kneeling position. This is big news for us!

4. She now can SAY dog, dada, mama and hi! She said hi to me today for the first time and I about died from cuteness overload.

5. She kissed the sidewalk yesterday at the park. Strange, I know, and not exactly a new skill. But seriously?! She is so loving she even kisses sidewalks.


Wednesday, May 22, 2013

Looking for Joy

I am a firm believer that a positive attitude can carry you a long way in this life. I firmly believe that our positive attitudes in the delivery room made Lauren's birth the best experience of my life. (Sorry Ryan! You scared the crap out of me with the dropping heart rate. Good thing you came out adorable!)

I think my positive attitude is what makes me a (generally) happy person. I could bitch about not having enough money, our house being to small, the dog being annoying (oh, wait, I DO bitch about the dog being annoying!), having too much stuff to do and too little time, trying to juggle working full time at night when most people sleep and then trying to find time to sleep when most people are awake etc..

I know my blog is mostly puppies and rainbows. I get it. It's not that life isn't hard! Having a kid with a disability is really tough sometimes. I was just recently talking to Greg about it on the way to church on Sunday, actually. Sometimes it's hard to relate to my mommy friends with typical kids. Lauren is way, way behind in every area except cuteness. Sometimes it feels like I live on a completely different parenting planet because of it.

Sometimes I way overindulge Ryan because I feel bad that Lauren's appointments and therapy take so much time away from him. What if he never feels as important? What if he can't relate to her and they aren't friends as adults? What if he feels less important? What if he feels more important?

So, it's not that I don't get it. I do. These are the questions that keep me up at night.

But you know what I think about even more than all of that?

You'll probably never find joy if you don't look for it!

Life heaps enough struggles on us without us having to go and look for more! Joy? Not always as much. I could be so angry at the person who stole my parking spot at Kroger. But I could also realize that it's frankly not that big of a deal and go park my car somewhere else. I could harbor sadness and resentment and anger over my sweet daughter facing additional struggles in this life. Or I could teach her to look for joy. I can teach both of my kids to appreciate positivity. Put more positivity into this world than negativity.

So, as for me and my kids, we're looking for joy.

Monday, May 20, 2013

We love spring!!

I haven't update because not a whole lot is going on. Work, preschool, therapy. Rinse and repeat :)

We have been enjoying the fantastic weather we're having!

We went to the park and have been loving walking around town:

I'm thrilled that she still LOVES the swings!
The fountain-both kids ended up soaked and Ryan rode home in his underwear!
The downside to working midnights: My family has fun without me!
Popsicle picnic with Baby Cousin!
Things have been going well, for the most part. Lauren still cries through most of physical therapy. It kind of makes me sad, but I figure she wouldn't be crying if it wasn't hard. I like that she's feeling challenged! It gives her something to work on. She'd be content to snuggle and never walk if she had her way. Ryan sees the physical therapy people for his toe-walking this month. That will be fun-NOT! Lol, I am so making Greg take him to that appointment.
Today was Ryan's last day of preschool for the summer! I took him to Target, just the two of us, as a treat. We spent way too much money on crap we didn't really need, so I'd say it was a successful Target trip!

Monday, May 13, 2013

We're back!!

Greg and I are back from our fabulous Dominican vacation!!

This is what we did every day...

We did end up going on a "snorkeling" excursion. I put the quotations because it was barely snorkeling. They dropped us not too far from shore and told us to jump out of the boat. Not kidding! Due to my lack of swimming prowess I almost drowned, so then I hung out on the boat. The fun part came after!! We went to Saona Island, which is where the movie Blue Lagoon was filmed! It was amazing. We ate a traditional Dominican meal and swam in the very warm ocean. Then we sailed back two hours on a catamaran! It was amazing! We befriended two other couples our age and hung out with them the whole time. We drank too much (in my case WAY too much, I broke my favorite sandals!), swam a lot and had a great time. They had this big nets out on the boat that hung over the ocean and we layed on those and drank about a million rum and cokes!

We really just relaxed the rest of the week. We were sick of resort food by the end and we acted like the TGI Friday's at the Miami aiport was Mecca. I was so excited to eat a salad! There wasn't "real" lettuce in the Dominican Republic, I think it's too hot to grow it there. And I'm a salmonella freak so I probably wouldn't have eaten it anyway.

We really liked Secrets Resort and want to go back. They're opening one in Costa Rica in 2015 and I'm already harrassing Greg to plan a 7 year anniversary trip for us. I think we might still be paying off this trip by then, so my plan isn't working yet. Luckily we have him to keep us financially grounded!

I missed the kids so much, I don't think I'd go for quite so long ever again. 7 nights away from my kids is too many for me.

We had an awesome day yesterday and the best Mother's Day ever! We went to church, out to lunch with my in-laws, then Greg and Lo napped while Ryan went with his grandpa to look at trains. So I went to my grandma's and ate lunch with my parents, one of my sisters, my nephew, two of my cousins and a few of my aunts and uncles! Then I topped it off by visiting my other grandma in the hospital. (She got to come home today but unfortunately my grandpa got admitted this afternoon.) It was just exactly what I hoped for the day.

It feels great to be back and have our family together again!
(Yes, I did need to put in the last one! LOL! I am dang proud of how I look in a swim suit. I hate exercising and do it anyway, so I will shamelessly post pics of myself on here!

Friday, May 3, 2013

Why, yes! This DOES deserve a post of it's own! (Brag alert!)

Look at her little pony tail!!!

I love Lauren's hair. It's so cute and I love how it naturally parts on the side. I have been waiting and waiting for it to finally be long enough for a single pony tail and that day has arrived!!! I did clip her "bangs" off to the side because she was chewing on them. I feel like she looks like a teenager with her pony tail and her jeans and her tank top. Swoon!

Thursday, May 2, 2013

Picture Update!

Ryan is trying to be like Mama!

Here's Lauren eating dinner
Remember how I said Lauren loved the iPad? I got her one of the apps on my phone. She's an artist!
Lauren and I ready for the day (Not today. Today I look crazy and need a shower)
Happy girl :)

Greg and I are headed out of town soon and the kiddos are being shipped off to Grandma and Grandpa's, so I thought I'd post some pictures now to make up for lack pictures of the kids to come. But we will post pictures of our vacation when we come back! Luckily my sister will be here to take care of our cat (lucky her). The dog is also spending a week with Grandma and Grandpa.