Welcome to my blog!

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

Wednesday, July 31, 2013

Life

Life has been so busy lately. I worked last night, slept a bit, and had a great afternoon/evening.

I really needed a day with my family! We went to Costco and then had dinner with my grandparents, mom, cousins and aunt. Afterwards we went to Kroger (sans Ryan, he got to stay longer at his Gigi and Poppas to play). And I took Maizy for a nice 25 minute walk. So relaxing! There was nothing at all stressful about my day :) and I have 2 more days off before I go back to work.

Walkin Maizy daily is my new exercise and weight-maintenance plan. I was working out at the gym 3ish days a week and I lost about 10lbs. Woot! I'm not quite 5'3" so that's a good amount for me. I just can't seem to organize my life and find the motivation to make driving to the gym, just to use the elliptical machine anymore. So walking 25 minute 4-5 days a week will have to do. It's nice to have some time alone to clear my head.

Today Lauren was in the BEST mood! She was being so loving and playful. I'm pretty sure I got more kisses from her today than I usually get in a week. I struggle with the fact that she favors Greg right now, so I really  needed that. Once it was bedtime I fed her a bottle and rocked her to almost-asleep. She is still remarkably cuddly, especially at bedtime. Lucky us!! I couldn't love that more.

This is a picture of Greg and Lauren eating popcorn together. He was biting off the sharp parts for her. Dad of the year!!

Best friendsies at Costco!

How did I get so lucky?



Friday, July 26, 2013

The cutest shoes ever


Lo got her orthotic inserts! In honor of this occasion, we decided (more like realized the night before) that she would probably need shoes for this. Duh, right? So Greg took the kids to the mall while I was at work and picked out a fresh pair of baby Nikes!


So cute! He did a great job. She will be wearing about $300 worth of orthotics/footwear so lets hope she (aka me, I lose everything) doesn't lose them. She'll be grounded for sure if she does ;)

Thursday, July 25, 2013

More!

Quick brag! Lauren is now consistently signing "more"!! I thought she did it the other day. Today she's doing it a ton and with purpose!!

She can also point to her nose when you ask!

Sunday, July 21, 2013

Settling in

Maizy seems to be settling in nicely. She certainly loves to be a part of all the family action! Lauren had a tummy ache and subsequent gross diaper. Maizy really wanted to help! Lol.

Ryan is so happy to have a new friend. She sat in on our bedtime reading and prayers tonight.

And I am overjoyed to have a dog. I'm a dog person. To me, a dog fills a void that only a dog can fill. My heart is happy to have a canine baby! We got to meet her babies today and they were so CUTE! However, I was reminded why we chose an adult dog! Puppies are like extremely needy, furry babies.

Aren't we just the all American family? Two kids, a dog and a cat. All we need is a white picket fence :)

Maizy really likes Sofie the Giraffe. Who doesn't?! (Once again, Lauren doesn't lose fights so she definitely won possession of Sofie)




Maizy!!


Meet Maizy!
As you can tell, she an Ryan are fast friends. 
Lauren looks like she needs to clarify that Maizy won't steal her books. They've already tussled over Sophie the Giraffe. Lauren won, obviously.

Maizy is the gentlest dog! She is a little anxious, which we expected, and has been alternating playing, sleeping and pacing. I'm sure once we all settle into a routine she'll feel better. Moving is stressful, especially if you get a new family too!

We love her! 


Wednesday, July 17, 2013

Exhale

I can hardly believe the good news we got today at Lauren's echo appointment. I feel like I can finally exhale the stress, worry and fear that has been slowly creeping into my bones and squeezing my heart for the last few months.

As we walked to the elevators from the cardio clinic I felt the hot tears start leaking from my eyes as the weight left my shoulders. My beautiful daughter really is healthy!

As much as I hold on to hope as much as I can, fear still comes. So does worry. Doubt. Insecurity.

It can be a daily battle sometimes to make sure hope wins. Sometimes it doesn't even come close. My life, my faith is a work in progress.

Today I snuggled my sweet girl and smelled her sweet toddler fragrance of strawberry shampoo, ritz crackers and sweat...it's a life worth working on. As I gave Ryan a bath, blow dried his hair upon request and sang "We Wish You a Merry Christmas" before bed on this this 97 degree day... It's a hope worth holding onto.

We are blessed.

Tuesday, July 16, 2013

I'm hooked.

Now that I realize how much easier the blogger app is for me since ALL of the kids' pictures are on my phone!

Baby khakis!! Lauren and I took a quick impromptu Target trip today and I had to buy her this outfit. $10 total for shorts and a shirt! 

And a selfie of me. I never wear makeup anymore, much less a cute outfit because I'm always either at work or lazing at home. I'm a bum!

I got to spend some time with my BFF and a couple of her friends tonight! And earlier in the day my amazing cousin, Cayla, came over to hang out! Add in a trip to Target and you have a pretty great day! I have to take pictures of myself when I have good hair days because quite often I find myself wanting to chop off a foot of hair and it took me WAY too long to grow for that!


Trying out the blogger app


I'm sorry if this format is weird! I just downloaded the blogger app about 30 seconds ago and had to try it out!

Happy blogging :)

Lo loves coffee just like mama!

Just policing the house, as usual

A vacuuming man is a sexy man

Holy crap, adding pictures is so easy now! Okay. I'm converting.


Tomorrow is a big day. A big, scary day.

Tomorrow Lauren has an appointment with cardiology and it will be her first time getting echo'd since she was discharged from the hospital after heart surgery.

I alternate between total calm and absolute terror. What if she needs more surgery? Just the thought of it makes me feel like I'm starting to slip back into the dark hole that consumed me when she was so sick. It's like there was an overwhelming darkness taking over and completely suffocating me and I couldn't stop it and I couldn't get myself out. It's absolutely terrifying. I still can't breathe when I think about it. It took me a long time to feel like myself, even after she got better. Some days I still feel like I lost a part of myself I can never get back. I'm so afraid of slipping back into that and not making it out the other side with my soul intact. When Lauren left the hospital I calmly walked her to the car and we left. But inside I felt like a 90 year old woman with an ache in my bones and the weight of the world dragging my soul to the earth. I was drowning.

But then I actually LOOK at Lauren. She appears so healthy. She is doing so many new things! She's pink, she plays all the time, she loves to eat, she is so interactive. She's happy and she's by all accounts healthy. All things that are the exact opposite of how she was pre-surgery. She couldn't eat, she couldn't breathe, she was lethargic, she was gray. Aside from several bumps in the road, surgery fixed all of that. The only reminder left is the thin silver scar that marks her chest and reminds us of how damn lucky we are.

 When she was imaged after surgery they said she had a residual VSD and some tricuspid valve regurgitation. In human language that means she still had a hole in her heart and a leaky valve. I am hoping beyond all hope that her heart has mended itself. Or as I like to think, the Great Physician has had his hand in this and mended her Himself.

As I've said before, Lauren never really felt like mine until after surgery and had the chance to  fall in love all over again. I felt like she was a borrowed baby because I was too afraid to hope she'd make it. Those old feelings are coming back to me and making me so sad to remember. I love her more than life itself and I would just die without her.

Please pray for all of us tomorrow as we see her cardio team. We really need it!

Sunday, July 14, 2013

Smarty pants!!


Well, I knew Lauren was smart. But it turns out that she's nearing genius level!

Just yesterday, barely even any time after first pulling up to a stand, she took 3 adorable little sideways steps while holding onto the couch to get my phone!!!

And today she said, "Bye dada!"

I haven't been blogging very much lately because I've been working kind of a lot. Life is busy. I'm not sure why I thought things would slow down in the summer. Ryan starts school September 9th and I'm looking forward to getting 4 hours a week alone time with Lauren! I get a ton of alone time with Ryan while Lauren naps and it's so, so important to me.

Lauren's still going to therapy at the University of Michigan and obviously it's doing great things for her. We haven't really gone weekly because things come up but we've gone every other week at least. We've had some fun playdates too! Both kids love other kids so it's been really fun.

Lauren has really been bad about biting lately. She actually broke the skin on my stomach today :( Lets face it, I have a lot of extra skin so there's a lot to grab ahold of! We just constantly redirect her and give her things she CAN bite. It does seem to be working but I seem to be her favorite target. I like to tell myself that I must be really sweet.

Our dog, Maizy, will be joining our family next week!! Greg and I are really excited to get started on her obedience and therapy classes in the fall! Partly just because it's something we hope to do together (hint hint to our parents aka our favorite babysitters!). Ryan is so super excited about the dog, it's adorable.

Speaking of Ryan, his fish, Swimmie, has kicked the bucket. He's now swimming around the great lake in the sky. Ryan was surprisingly not upset but didn't believe us that he was dead! He wanted to get another fish to "wake him up". LOL! And when I told Ryan that we were going to flush Swimmie down the toilet the look on his face was totally priceless. How crazy it must've sounded to his 3 year old mind! Now he keeps saying "I'm gonna miss Swimmie while he's dead." I think he doesn't quite get that he'll always be dead. But he did say, "Swimmie is in heaven so I'll never see him again.". Who knows. I was so not ready for the death talk with him! But now his mind is on Maizy so I think he's fine. He's a tender hearted kid and I have a sneaking feeling he'll get sad in a couple weeks when he realizes that he really won't see Swimmie again.

We took the kids to Chuck E Cheese! Ryan was a little young for a lot of the games but still had a great time.

Lauren was Disney-World level excited!

Ryan played a ton outside and got a free Slurpee on 7-11, then promptly fell asleep on the couch

And BIG NEWS! We got Lauren's karyotype! We knew she was cute, but I never would've guessed her chromosomes would be just as adorable! Just look at that cute little extra 21st!

I have to admit, as Lauren gets older and starts doing big-girl things, my ovaries are absolutely aching for another baby some days. And Ryan is such a boy now. I can't even really call him a toddler. Other days I can't imagine doing to whole baby-thing again. Only time will tell what we decide because we both change our minds daily. We have about a million pros and cons for both choices! At least for now I plan on just enjoying the heck out of the two miracles I already have!




Saturday, July 6, 2013

SHE STOOD UP!!!!!!

Today we were visiting my parents and my mom has her couch cushions up so her dog can't sit on them.

Well, it's apparently perfect height for Lauren, because she STOOD UP to get a ball. TWICE! Then she did it at home too!!!

I felt like she'd never do it, honestly. I am so excited!

Friday, July 5, 2013

What's in a word?

Lauren has been a chatterbox lately!

I've been keeping a running tally of how many words she says, mostly so I can impress her pediatrician when we see her in September. Here's what we have so far:

Lauren's Words

  • cat
  • doggie/dog
  • Gracie (dog's name)
  • dada
  • mama
  • hi
  • out
  • pa
  • tio (uncle in Spanish)
  • eye (pointing to a stuffed friend's eyeball!)
  • baby
  • bubble
  • baba (for bottle)
I personally feel like this is AMAZING for just 16 months old, Down syndrome or not! Let me remind you, our son didn't say anything until he was 2. He was tongue-tied and had surgery to fix it one month before his second birthday. So hearing Lauren talk is just so surprising! And all of these were said correctly in context, other than baby. A baby saying "baby" is pretty much the cutest so I've been working on her saying it for a while! She finally did and then repeated it for my mom too!

So far her only consistent sign is for dog, which she uses for any animal. She is way more enthusiastic about it when she actually sees a dog though. The best is when she is signing dog repeatedly and shouting "Dog! Dog! Dog!" Then she laughs and looks around to make sure everyone is watching her, then she claps and waves. A diva in training already!

We've been working with her a ton at physical therapy and at home to work on standing up and eventually walking. Even without her Hip Helpers she has been standing up (with support) lately! She can actually kind of help me put pants on her now! Have you tried putting pants on a squirmy 16 month old who can't stand up? It's not at all easy! Now she can put some weight on her legs and hold onto my shoulders while I support her butt/body with one arm and slip her pants on with the other arm. Think that sounds tricky? Try it without her bearing weight on her legs! She's not really close to pulling up to a standing position but she does pull up to her knees! Baby steps for an adorable baby :)

Oh, and anyone have any suggestions to stop biting? She does in when she's snuggling us, she comes in for a sneak attack and chomps our arms. Some of us (ahem) have more arm chub so there's more to bite. It hurts like heck! I usually say "No biting!" and lovingly pry her face off my arm fat with my free hand.

This has been a busy and fun summer so far, that's for sure!