Welcome to my blog!

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

Saturday, June 29, 2013

Family vacation!

I haven't had time to post in what feels like forever! I love blogging as a way to keep track of Lauren's accomplishments, kind of like an online baby-book. I wish I'd done it with Ryan!

We've been on vacation in northern Michigan and it was beautiful! The lake breeze is always good for the soul  and always reminds me how much I LOVE living in this gorgeous state. There were 28 of us, all members of my dad's side of the family- grandma, aunts, uncles, cousins, second cousins, etc... My grandma rented a big house with 2 little cabins for everyone for the week. I can't imagine a better vacation! I really love my extended family. We're a mish-mash of people who are related by blood, marriage, divorce, friendship, etc. It's pretty awesome! We're kind of like a gang, once you're in you're kind of stuck for life.

While we were up north (for those of you in other parts of the country, Michiganders call anything more than an hour west or north "up north", haha) Lauren did something amazing! She really and truly communicated something she wanted!

She said "out", signed dog and then pointed outside. I said, "baby girl, there isn't a dog outside!" Well, yes there was! She had seen it earlier and wanted to go see it again. WHAT?! I was SO proud! I feel like this is such a huge deal!

Ryan was like a totally different kid up there. He is usually pretty timid with new people and new things. He was a chatterbox all week and even went SWIMMING in water up to his chest! And the adults with him were my aunt and my cousin. I don't think anything else could've shocked me more. And he played nonstop with seven of his cousins (some are my second cousins) who are between the ages of 2 and 14. Actually played with them, not just alongside them. He touched a fish (that I caught!!), he held a worm (he thought it was a baby snake), he got dirty. I still can't believe it! He never whined, he never disobeyed, he just had fun and was in a great mood all week! It was almost like a break from parenting, lol. We had such a great time!

And to top it off, my dad shot a fox that was having seizures on the grass in back of the house. Weird, huh? Luckily, as a retired cop, he always packs heat. I'm not sure what else they would've done! It was right in the yard where the kids were playing!

Photo dump!

Ryan fishing!

I did actually touch a worm! I caught 4 fish, but never touched any of them, haha!

The hammock :)

Me and my beautiful cousin Maddy

Me and my amazing twin sister!

Vacation is hard work!

As you can tell, we had a great time!! Sorry, I have like zero pictures of Lauren, we weren't really there at the same time. I left with Ryan on Monday morning, Greg got up there with Lauren Tuesday night and then I left Thursday morning for work. But she seemed to have a good time! 






Thursday, June 20, 2013

Perfection

My sister entered my mom into a contest to win a free photo shoot for Mothers Day. She won!! The photographer, Sarah, is AMAZING. Obviously, since she got Ryan to actually look at a camera. Here's a link to her page!

So far we have sneak peeks. And here they are!


Seriously?! I am obsessed with these two. How did Ryan morph into a kid so quickly?! He has been such a wonderful brother lately. He calmly sat down next to Lauren earlier this week and gently brushed her hair out of her face and removed her little hangnail. Seriously? I melted!

And I can't help but look at this gorgeous picture of Lo and wonder how on earth anyone could choose to have an abortion simply because of Down syndrome. (Disclaimer: My views on abortion as a whole are not something I prefer to touch on here at MeetingLauren.) I just don't get it. I don't. Look at her! She is absolutely perfect. Beautiful. I don't have enough words for her. "Perfection" comes close to describing how I feel. My life is so enriched by her. I have so much patience now that I never thought I'd see. I am a better mom to Ryan now too because I think she's taught me that it's okay to slow down and just enjoy each moment. I don't know that I ever quite realized before I had her that it's really okay to live life in such a way to soak up as much enjoyment as possible, regardless of how long it takes. It makes me sad that I rushed Ryan through so much of his baby years. Why was I in such a rush for him to fall asleep without rocking him? 

The best way I can think to describe Lauren's personality is "sunny" and this picture captures that sentiment perfectly. I say this with 100% honesty- if I could clone her I would. If I could be promised another baby exactly like Lauren, I would have ten of them.

My mom told us today that when we got Lauren's diagnosis she and my dad were so incredibly sad. Not for Lauren, but for Greg and I because our lives would be "so hard". Today she said, "What were we thinking?" We can laugh about that now! Life is not harder! Life is better because of Lauren. Truly.

Greg and I were actually talking today about how fun of  a kid she is. It's ridiculous. She is our unexpected blessing. We had no idea our lives could ever be like this when we first found out that Down syndrome would be a big part of our lives. Lauren is just a joy to be around and she almost demands joy from those around her. Today at the grocery store we were stopped 3 times so customers and employees could say hi and we were only there for about 20 minutes!

I'm re-reading a really touching, funny and poignant trilogy that I first read when Lo was only a few months old. It's by Sherry Boas. It's the Lily Trilogy. I'm on the first book (again) called Until Lily. The character of Lily is a beautiful woman named Lily with Down syndrome. It's fiction but reads like a memoir. I've been in tears laughing, in tears of sadness and in tears due to a sense of wistfulness that sits heavy in my heart. I REALLY love these books and I think everyone should read them. Especially if you have a child, niece, sibling or friend with special needs.

Ah, enough rambling for now. I promise I'll post lots more pictures when we get them all back!!


Sunday, June 16, 2013

Lucky Kids!

It's Fathers Day! I need to use this day as an excuse to say how amazing my husband is!

He has really stepped up to the plate and become such a wonderful father. He plays with Ryan, cuddles him, teaches him, disciplines him when needed and loves him so much.

He takes Lauren to therapy every single week. He works with her a ton at home. He keeps the kids in line, safe and alive during the day while I sleep after work.

He is my true partner in life, sticking by my side as we went through things we could've never imagined. We are so blessed to call him ours!


Happy Fathers Day!

Monday, June 3, 2013

Thank God I was wrong

When we found out that Lauren would be born with Down syndrome I had some pretty nasty thoughts go through my mind. Most of them were driven by total fear of the unknown.

One of the big ones that stands out to me was that I felt so bad that I would be cheating Ryan out of a real sibling.

I was so wrong about that. It breaks my heart that I ever thought it would be the case. They enjoy (and don't enjoy) the full spectrum of sibling emotions. So many unexpected things have been popping up and it's been wonderful and truly eye opening for me.

Today the sweetest thing happened! At our Kroger they have carts with little cars up front so a kid can ride and "drive" it while the parents shop. It's Ryan's favorite thing ever. He always sits in it and steers and Lauren sits in the baby seat up front near us. Well, not today.

"Can Lauren sit with me?" I heard Ryan's little voice ask.

Be still my heart! I was so excited about that! So I went to buckle her in next to him and the seatbelt was broken! He had his heart set on the red car so I just pushed our cart a little slow. Everybody survived, haha.

He wanted her to sit with him! He did right away tell her, "I'll handle the driving." But he actually asked for her.

I'm so mad at myself that I expected her to be something less than a real sister. She loves him, reaches to kiss him, hugs him, steals his trains, and looks at him with complete adoration that is reserved especially for him. There's nothing like it in the world. I am so happy and so blessed to have these two amazing little people in my life. And although they don't realize it quite yet, they are even luckier to have each other.


Mother of the Year Award!

And the award goes to.... Somebody other than me!

Greg's sick. Fever, aches, stomach bug. Yuck.
I'm sick. Cough, sore throat, aches. Yuck.

So I called off work tonight and hung out with my babies all day since Greg is sicker.

It was about 65 and beautifully sunny today. Lo napped for 3 hours straight (Thank you God!). So Ryan wanted to play with his water stuff in the back yard. A bit too chilly, but whatever! So we got out his water table and whale sprinkler. He had a blast! Then he had to pee. I was way too light-headed to take him inside to pee so I showed him the benefit of being a boy- peeing outside.

Brilliant, huh? Or not. He then proceeded to pee in the living room this afternoon! Oops! Also, it was WAY too cold to be naked in the back yard!

Then we were bored so we decided to go look at puppies and kittens. This led to Ryan requesting a fish tank.

Meet our newest family member:

Swimmie!

Please take note that Swimmie is plain orange. Read: easy to replace without a curious 3 year old noticing. Ryan is obsessed with him! He resides right in the living room so they can watch cartoons and eat fruit snacks together (Ryan's words, not mine).