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[31 for 21] ~ Throwback Thursday Part 2…

Happiness.

Today’s word is happiness.

First of all, did anyone miss me yesterday??!!
I fell off the wagon. I landed hard. I tried to write a blog last night but I actually just stared at my computer for about 45 seconds, and then promptly fell asleep. So…yeah, it didn’t happen yesterday!

Today is Thursday. I have been meaning to post these pics every Thursday this month for Throwback Thursday, and then keep forgetting. So today, here they are. Just a bunch of pictures of a great summer day had by all. It has become a tradition in our family that my mom takes all her grandsons out for a day at the Calgary Corn Maze. The place rocks. The corn maze is great, but honestly it’s all the other stuff that really sells the place for my kids. From a petting zoo, to mini-golf, to a playground, to giant trampolines, slides, and so much more, our kids had an amazing time. The pictures speak for themselves:)

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Posted by on October 30, 2014 in Uncategorized

 

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[31 for 21] ~ The Day of Total Randomness…

Happiness.

Today’s word is happiness.

And randomness. There is no rhyme or reason as to why I am posting this smattering of things. Enjoy:)

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Selfie with my boys on a beautiful fall day:)

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Hanging out at the park. This is how Cole came down the slide…

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…And this is how Jake came down the slide!!

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I just think this picture is adorable. And also the fact that he is trying to sit up while strapped into the chair is pretty funny.

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Handsome boy. (and fat!!)

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We got Noah dedicated in church last Sunday. My brother-in-law, Dave, was praying for him. I love this pic because it shows what was really happening…all the adults were trying to pay attention, Jake was talking to himself, and Noah was desperately trying to rip the mic out of Dave’s hand!

 
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Posted by on October 28, 2014 in Uncategorized

 

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[31 for 21] ~ They Looked At Me Like I Was Crazy…

Hope.

Today’s word is hope.

Not the kind of feel-good hope that has been characteristic of the last few posts. Hope as in the “here’s hoping…” kind of hope.

My arm hurts.
“Why does your arm hurt?” you ask.
My arm hurts because I got the flu shot today.

Now, before I go any further, let me just back up for a second. I have never been one to get the flu shot. I always refused, stating vehemently and with a certain level of pride that I had never gotten the flu shot, and I had never gotten the flu. It was not something that was ever on my radar.

Enter Jake.
Jake is not medically fragile by any means. He is, however, susceptible to more than the typical kid. And when he does get sick, he is prone to get sicker than many other children, and have a harder time recovering. Much of this is due to having extremely small airways and passageways, which when sick get even smaller and let even less air and oxygen into his body. Because of Jake, I have changed my tune on getting the flu shot, desiring to do anything possible to help keep him healthy through the winter months.

Last year I had every intention of getting the flu shot for me and my kiddos. One thing led to another, however, and laziness and apathy took over. Fall was a busy season. Then the Christmas season was upon us (for those of you who may not know, I start celebrating the Christmas season extremely early, so it was a long season to enjoy!). With the termination of Christmas came New Years. And then it happened. Jake got sick. Then he got sicker. And sicker. Long story short, we ended up being admitted to the hospital for almost a week with pneumonia, coming home on oxygen, and being admitted again a few weeks later. By the time he was well enough to get the flu shot administered to him, the entire province of Alberta had run out.

Last year was awful, and I have no desire to relive that again this year. So when the flu shots came out early last week, I was on the phone, finding out when and where the clinics were being held. And today was the day. I picked Jake up from school, drove over to the clinic, and took all three of my children through the process of getting their flu shots.

And people were looking at me like I was crazy.

Granted, my children were not on their best behavior. It was almost nap time, and they were tired and hungry. Noah and Jake were in the stroller, and Cole was walking beside me. Jake, however, kept squirming out from under the bar, and trying to escape. Every time I grabbed him, he would whine and flop himself on the floor. Cole was running around like a crazy person, pushing all the barriers, chairs, and garbage cans he could find, and being utterly and outright defiant. Noah was great until he got his shot, but then he started crying and wouldn’t stop. Jake had a meltdown because I wouldn’t let him play on my phone, and then when I took it away from Cole to give to Jake, it was Cole’s turn for a meltdown. Like, a bloodcurdling, screaming fit, which if you were an innocent bystander you would have thought was because the nurse was giving him the vaccine, but in reality was because I took away the phone.

We had to stay for 15 minutes after the vaccine was administered, and I swear it was the longest 15 minutes of my life. Jake and Cole took turns in the stroller, and whoever was in the stroller got the phone. I had to entertain the other one, attempting tickling, singing songs, chasing them around the room, and getting them to throw random objects in the garbage for me. And I saw it. I saw the stares. I saw the whispers. I saw the shy little smiles when I looked at those around me. They were all thinking it…that woman is crazy!

And maybe I am crazy for attempting to take my 3 year old with Down syndrome, 2 year old, and 7 month old for flu shots. But here’s hoping that it works, and we don’t end up in the hospital as much as we were last year.

And if there is any possibility of hoping for health this winter, then I say, “bring on the crazy”!!

*I did not take any pictures during the ordeal today, as I was trying to keep my sanity and to not lose my children! So instead, here are just a couple cute pictures of my kids, being crazy, taking selfies when I didn’t know they had my phone!*

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Posted by on October 27, 2014 in Uncategorized

 

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[31 for 21] ~ Stories of Hope, Part 2…

Hope.

Today’s word is hope.

A couple of weeks ago I posted about hope, linking to a video about Tim, an incredible man with Down syndrome who owns his own restaurant, called “Tim’s Place“. Today I want to share another story of hope, coming out of our very own city. The Media Release about Sensei Natalie Olson explains the honor that she has of being able to go to Germany and compete in Karate.

What isn’t explained in the Media Release below, however, is a little more detail about Sensei Natalie Olson. Here it is, word for word from an email that was sent by Natalie’s parents to the Executive Director of PREP, the organization where Jake attends preschool (Natalie is a graduate of the PREP program, and this email was meant to be read and shared by many!):

“Her (Natalie) karate sensei challenged her to complete her Black Belt. We, her parents, her strongest supporters, didn’t think she could do it. But her senseis (Heather Fidyk and her husband Darren) did believe in her. Last May, we travelled to Edson, Alberta where she was presented along with 21 other contenders to be tested. She was one of the successful 12 who passed. Her tester said it was one of the most enjoyable gradings he’s ever done. This from someone who rarely smiles and never gives compliments! She became the first person with Down syndrome in Canada to achieve this rank in Wado Kai karate.”

Again I say it: so much hope. So much potential. So much to look forward to.

Go Natalie Go!!

 
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Posted by on October 27, 2014 in Uncategorized

 

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[31 for 21] ~ Why Don’t I Forget?…

Heartache.

Today’s word is heartache.

My question is this: why don’t I forget?
I have read so many blog posts lately in which the authors refer to the fact that their lives are typical and ordinary, so much so that they often forget that their little one has a diagnosis of Down syndrome. Perhaps in the past I have even been the author of a similar post, or subscribed to a similar vein of thought. These days, however, I absolutely do not feel that way. Which begs the question, why don’t I forget?

Don’t get me wrong. I love Jake so dearly. I cherish him, I admire him for the amazing little person that he is. I parent him similarly to my other children, and when I look at him, I don’t see his diagnosis, I see Jake. Period. Full stop.

But still…

I don’t see him through the lens of his diagnosis. I also don’t forget that he has one however.
Maybe it’s just because Cole is catching up to Jake, and beginning to surpass him in many ways. Maybe because of this I am more aware of the things that are different between them. Maybe I am just sleep deprived and it is beginning to catch up to me and taint my perception. In this stage of Jake’s development, however, I feel that the diagnosis of Down syndrome truly does color everything. Down syndrome is never far from my mind. I don’t forget.

And I am tired. Not physically, although I am tired physically as well. I’m tired emotionally. I’m tired psychologically. I am just tired.
Today I had a “chronic grief” moment ~ I went into the kitchen to pour myself another cup of coffee, and Jake took the opportunity to dump his food all over the floor. Again. For the zillionth time. And I cried. I went into my room, lay my head down on my pillow in defeat, and let the tears flow.

I wasn’t crying for the spilled food. That was just the proverbial icing on the cake. I was crying because I’m tired. I was crying because this is sometimes hard. I was crying because I feel I’m failing him. I was crying because there are so many issues, health-wise, behavior-wise, and other that I don’t know how to navigate very well. I was crying because in this stage of life, I find it hard to forget.

Thank goodness Jake is not defined by what I can’t forget, but by so much more:)

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Posted by on October 25, 2014 in Uncategorized

 

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[31 for 21] ~ Photo Friday…

Happiness.

Today’s word is happiness.

This evening we got to carry on a grand old tradition:)
We got to carve pumpkins together with my sister and her kiddos.
We’ve been doing it for several years now, and it is so much fun! Our kids aren’t completely into it yet, but a good time is always had by all.

*Photos of years past*

Jake is not sure about this...

Pumpkin Fest 2012

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Pumpkin Fest 2013

This year Jake was particularly not interested. In fact, he wouldn’t go near the pumpkins at all, and when I tried to put him up on the chair to take a look and get in on the action, he just screamed “NO!” and hopped back down. Oh well…at least he was excited when they were all done. Here are just a couple cute pics of the night…

The best we got from Noah:) He went to bed about 3 min after this picture was taken...

The best we got from Noah:) He went to bed about 3 min after this picture was taken…

Cutie nephew Peyton!

Cutie nephew Peyton!

This was as close as I could get Jake to being to the action.

This was as close as I could get Jake to being to the action.

Like father, like son...

Like father, like son…

Jake had no interest in carving a pumpkin, so I got to do it instead! At least I thought of him...:)

Jake had no interest in carving a pumpkin, so I got to do it instead! At least I thought of him…:)

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Finished products and happy children!

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Finished products and happy children!

 

 

 
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Posted by on October 24, 2014 in Uncategorized

 

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[31 for 21] ~ Guest Post by Auntie Karla…

I have a guest blogger today:)
I asked my sister Karla if she would write something from her perspective about Jake. I left it wide open, and I think she did an amazing job of sharing her heart. She is an amazing mom of 5 boys, and even with 5 boys she had time to sit down and write a blog for me:)
I am forever grateful for her friendship, for our families’ relationships, and for her undying love and support.
Thanks K!!

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Happiness and Hope.

I have started this blog post many times now and then have deleted and then re-started and then deleted and then re-started again, the pressure to keep up to my sister is very daunting, also the pressure to say the exact right thing so that the world knows all my most intimate thoughts about my feelings and emotions about my nephew Jake, and also being an auntie to the three most amazing boys! I decided however, it was better to abandon my efforts to keep up to Karyn (that’s never worked, even when we were children!!) and to simply share my heart.

The day that Jake was born was one of the happiest, most anticipated days of my life. I had five boys of my own and was privileged to have my sister be the best auntie ever to my kids, and I was very excited to be able to start returning the favor. I wanted to be able to buy loud, annoying toys and then go home when they were repeatedly played with, I wanted to be able to give candy and sugar treats and then leave when the sugar meltdown hit, I wanted to be able to laugh at stubborn behavior instead of having to discipline it, really this was going to be awesome!!

Throughout Karyn’s pregnancy she was, how do I put it nicely, a little bit of a hypochondriac, except it went past just for herself, but also to this unborn baby. Her and her baby conceived pretty much every disorder and disease that they could possibly have, all unfounded of course. It came the pattern to tell Karyn she was crazy and that her baby was perfect and for heaven’s sake just settle down. So, when she came to us and told us she was pretty sure her baby had Down syndrome, we pretty much treated that the same way we had treated every other thing she was sure her baby had, we told her she was crazy and why would she possibly think that, her baby was going to be perfect and to stop all the needless worrying.

Fast forward to the day that Jake was born, he was a little early, and quite tiny, so they needed to immediately take him to the NICU and since Curtis went with him I got the privilege of sitting in the recovery room with my sister and my mom and being able to spend some sweet time with Karyn right after her surgery. We talked about how perfect her baby was, and how I couldn’t wait to see him. Later that night, I drove home with Curtis, I will never forget the moment that he looked at me in the car at 2:30am and said, Karla, the doctors are pretty sure that Jake has Down syndrome, and worse even, Karyn didn’t know yet.

But do you want to know something, my very first thought when he said that was not one of, oh no, how could this happen, or, what are we going to do, or, that I was even devastated, I was sad yes, but for Karyn and Curtis and the vision of what they thought they were going to have that had so drastically been altered, not for myself. I felt happiness, I had a nephew, my beautiful sister had given birth to a beautiful, perfect, amazing baby that was going to bring so much to our family. I felt joy that my five boys were going to have a boy cousin to laugh with, to play with, and to grow up loving and protecting fiercely. I felt hope that Jake couldn’t have possibly been born into a better family, with parents that were going to be absolutely amazing and truly, honestly, this is the truth, I know there are moments of heartache for Karyn and Curtis, but Jake could not have better parents, and I knew this right from the moment he was born.

The next morning as I held my sobbing sister in my arms I had hope, hope for what was to come, because there may be pain in the night, but joy comes in the morning, and I had hope for the joy that was coming in the morning. And when I went into the NICU and saw that tiny baby in his isolette laying there, all I saw was Jake, I didn’t see a diagnosis, or a disability, I saw my perfect, amazing nephew that I loved with all my heart.

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Today my sweet nephew Jake is 3 1/2 years old and has been joined by two other amazing little brothers, and my heart hasn’t changed at all. I have only gained happiness from having Jake in my life, I have been privileged to see his infectious smile, to hear his joyful squeals, to watch him meet milestone after milestone and conquer them all, to see him sign my name, and more recently hear him say my name with joy and glee, to scream in delight when he sees his cousins and know that he is treasured and loved beyond measure. I have only gained happiness from watching my five boys rally around Jake and seek understanding and grow in compassion and acceptance and then turn and teach their peers to do the same. I have gained happiness from spending countless family dinners, outings, playtimes, holidays, birthdays together and watching Jake be just like all the other boys in our family, he is treated with love, (sometimes smothering love from my kids), kindness and respect. So, I have only gained from having Jake in my life, he is a perfect creation, exactly the way God intended him to be, and I am blessed beyond all measure to be a small part of his story.

 
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Posted by on October 23, 2014 in Uncategorized

 

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