5 Reasons I Smile

The ultimate goal of this blog is to spread awareness and show how beautiful life can be. We have four amazing daughters. Our youngest was born with Down syndrome. If just one person stops here and leaves with a different, better perspective about Down syndrome, then it is worth it. Regardless, I have 5 Reasons to Smile!

Wednesday, January 26, 2011


I really need to take some life lessons from Naomi. She was in this cast for 4 weeks, over the Christmas holiday - I must add.

NO WEIGHT could be placed on her leg - PERIOD.

Attended a few birthday parties, no jump house.
Went to Knott's Berry Farm, couldn't ride a few rides.
Went to the park, couldn't "really" play with her friends.
No running, bike riding, scooter, soccer, ballet.
Kept home from school (she loves school), because her mom wasn't going to risk her falling...

She did not COMPLAIN ONCE!!! She is wise beyond her years. She figured, why complain? It won't change the situation. SHE made the best of it! She is awesome, amazing, adorable, sweet, patient and so lovable! I am the luckiest mom! (times 4) :)


That was one pinkalicious leg!

Thursday, January 20, 2011

"Me, Meeee!" - That's two words!

TWO WORDS. Did you know a child has to have a vocabulary of about 50 words before they begin to use two words together? I did not know that. Speech development wasn't something I paid mush attention to. (Before).

Three girls and until my fourth I never really thought about "child development" in general. After Jaden was born I used, What to Expect the First Year, as a reference. It seemed every time I flipped to the chapter that discussed her age-what she should be doing, what she might be doing and what she may do, she was always far beyond that stage. It did not take much effort on my part (or Diondray's) for her to reach the milestones. She walked by 12 months. At 15 months, she had a huge vocabulary. I rarely used the book with Naomi and Brynn. I was "experienced" (ha, ha) and their development just "happened"...I use the book now, however we are in What to Expect the Toddler Years.

Development in a child with Down syndrome tends to take longer (than a "typically" developing child). It takes much more work for a child with low tone (which is common in someone with Down syndrome) to reach gross and fine motor milestones. Speech tends to be delayed too.

We are reaching some big milestones.

The other night while putting Kamryn to bed I said, "I love you Kamryn."

She said, "I of oo to mama" -way more than two words, I know!

She also says, "K, mom" when I ask her to do something, (get her shoes for example).

Does "No, No" count? she says that too!

"Omi bed" (that means "Naomi put me on the bed!")

"Up Mom" (that means "Mom, pick me up!")

"Thank you"

"Excuse me Mom!" (yes, says it clear and it cracks me up!)

The other night Naomi and Brynn wanted their nails polished. Kamryn heard them ask me and she began to shout "Me, Meeeeee!" Speech is coming. So is big girl stuff...

Showing Daddy

They don't taste as good as they look :)

Jaden passed on the nail polishing. We didn't have blue!

Tuesday, January 11, 2011

She is so Smart.

I am boiling over with thoughts, feelings and emotions. Not just related to the title above. Related to my whole journey thus far, since being told my daughter had DOWN SYNDROME. I type that in upper case, because the day after she was born, those words were huge. They were enormous and consumed my mind and heart for over a year. Many emotions, thoughts, feelings, and transformations have occurred within me over the last 2.5 years. At times I want to share, to get it out, the good, the bad, all of it.

Then, I question if I should. Should I keep it private? Is it right for me to share? Do I want my girls to know what I went through? Do I want Kamryn to know? I end up debating with myself.

I believe that we don't often share the challenging, tough times we experience in life. In general, we don't want to open ourselves up to the criticism and judgement that may come from that. I also think there is a fear that you may be "alone in the feelings you experience" and others really won't understand, hence the judgement.

I am completely going to depart from what I was writing about, because I have a personal example...nursing a baby doesn't come natural to all women! When my first daughter Jaden was born, I had a terrible, excruciatingly painful time nursing her. All I ever heard was, "Nursing a baby is natural." I don't recall one person ever telling me how challenging or painful nursing can be. I felt so betrayed :). It took 6 (SIX) weeks for me to be able to nurse w/out crying. After that experience, I shared with my first-child pregnant friends. Now, I was not giving them the play-by-play painful version-"don't do it - it sucks the first few weeks" kind of information. However, I told them nursing did not come natural to me. That it hurt. Once I got it down, it was a great experience and I was glad I did it.

OK, back to where my thoughts really are tonight...so I have been through the hardest(hardest meaning, HARDEST) year of my life after being giving the DOWN SYNDROME news on August 18. 2008. I have also been through the most transforming, indescribable with words, eye opening, self-examination, self-discovery, humbling experience in my life.

I want to share it. I want to remember it. I want to not forget.

It has made me better, stronger, more humble.


Kamryn is so smart. I type that, shaking my head and with a smile on my face. Because she is.

There is a young lady at our church with Down syndrome. Before Kamryn was born, I didn't think about her Down syndrome. She can read (from the KING JAMES version of the Bible). She can write. She can talk. She is a typical young lady. I never thought about her as being smart or not. I never had any thought about her disability. I really didn't "see" it. I saw her.

Interestingly, the first year of Kamryn's life I wondered if she would talk, crawl, walk, write, read. Shoot, I wondered if she would do anything. I thought she just might stay in the new born baby status her whole life. It is amazing what a dose of fear, a drop of information from the old School medical community, hearing about stereo types (and believing them) can do. I was terrified of Down syndrome, my daughters life, all my daughters lives, my life, my husbands life. Oh, I could go on and on.

Someone gave me a book, Babies with Down Syndrome. I read only a few chapters. It may be a great book, however I didn't want to read about my baby with Down syndrome. (GIFTS, now that is a book I read. Over and Over and Over).

For the record, I am reading What to Expect the Toddler Years. Because I expect that of my daughter. I expect from her what I expected from all my children. Expectations. I have them now.

Kamryn is typical two (and a half).

The other day I told the girls, "Get your shoes and socks on." Kamryn began to head upstairs.

I said, "Kamryn, where are you going?"

she said, "socks".

I followed her up the stairs, into her room, where she opened the dresser draw and took out a pair of socks.

She can repeat every letter of the alphabet.

The other day she pulled the oven mittens out of the cabinet, went to the oven (with them on) and as she tried to open the oven door said "hot, hot".

She talks, walks, runs, dances, talks back (nooooo has become a very common word)

She is so smart.

I just had to share.

With our amazing Speech Therapist

Halloween 2010

Thanks Giving 2010

Saturday, January 8, 2011

We've spent a lot of time...

at home, in our pajamas, enjoying the moments.

School starts Monday. :( During the holidays it's like the world stops spinning. No school, sports/activities are on hiatus and life in general seems to stop and float in one place. It's a great time to regroup, relax and sleep in. As we get "ready" to start back up with school, I can feel the ground below me starting to move. It's getting ready to start spinning again.

In the mean time we have enjoyed.......

Jaden had a game today (the first since we have been on Christmas break). Even though it started at 11 (YES eleven)-- I still pulled up to the gym parking lot saying,
"Let Jaden out. Jaden, run so you're not late!"

I have no idea how we are going to get to school on time! :)

Monday, January 3, 2011

New Year...

I look back to smile, shed a tear, remember, gain strength and encouragement.

I look forward because I should.

I focus and put my energy into today, because that is where I am.

Happy New Year...Happy Day!

Life is beautiful!