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!

Thursday, August 25, 2011



Making decisions for any of my children is either quick or agonizing.

I either know exactly what I want to do or I am uncertain about what is "best" and it becomes agonizing.

What school? What teacher? What Doctor? What activities? How many activities? What age can they do sleep overs? Currently, I have answers to all those questions (my answers are subject to change at my discretion). However, new questions arise almost everyday, especially as they are getting older!

Having a child with Down syndrome adds more layers and more choices to our decisions. With Kamryn, I had the same options for preschool as I did her sisters, except I also had the choice to put her in a County Special Education preschool.

The decision was agonizing.

Over the summer we had several appointments and meetings with Kamryn's Speech Therapist, Occupational Therapist, Child Psychologist, PE teacher and Special Education Teacher. They were determining what government services she would be eligible for when she turned three.

When you have a child born with a developmental disability, they are eligible to receive services from birth to age 3. This program is called Early Start. At three, those services end and you must have your child "evaluated" to determine if he/she is still eligible for services and what those services maybe. (Tonight I am not going to VENT about how ridiculous that is. Kamryn has Down syndrome, she will more than likely have delays. She should be eligible for services in an effort to be pro-active with her development...regardless of the evaluations).

Kamryn did not qualify as having a "developmental disability." She is actually developing at age level (per the "testing") and therefore did not qualify under that eligibility. She does have a speech delay and some gross motor delays. This gave us the option of the County Special Education preschool.

After several discussions and sleepless nights, Diondray and I decided that the "best" place for Kamryn would be a small, private preschool. (In contrast to a county school with other children who have special needs or development delays.) Her therapist and all the professionals that evaluated her agreed that she would thrive in that environment. There were SEVERAL reasons we came to this decision.

We want her around her typical peers. (By the way, I can no longer stand the word typical).

Her receptive language is fantastic. She listens and can follow instruction.

Her speech is developing daily and we want her around children that are speaking and speaking clearly.

At this time, we think it is best for her development.


She started Monday. She walked right in and began to play in the kitchen area. I spoke to the teacher for a few minutes (the teacher operates out of her home, the family room is converted into a "class" room and there are 6 children. The back yard is an amazing play ground. It feels like a good fit). I gave Kamryn a few kisses and hugs and off I went.

I did not cry. I wasn't sure how I felt. I was a little worried she might cry. I was worried she might start to ask for me.

She didn't.

I picked her up (along w/her fan club) at 12:30 and we took her to her favorite place....

I am still questioning our decision...did we make the right one? Should she be in the County school? Have we made the right choice? I know, that at this moment, we have made the "best" decision for her.

She is enjoying it. She can't wait to go back tomorrow.

I will sleep good tonight. :)

Saturday, August 20, 2011


She is three.

She starts pre-school Monday.

She is smart.

She is funny.

She is trouble.

She is independent.

She loves pooh.

She loves Yogurt Creations.

She wants to do everything her sisters do.

She makes me smile.

She has opened our eyes.

She has made us better.

I am not sure what to say (or write). I have so many thoughts racing through my mind. I wanted to post on the eve of her birthday when my emotions were flowing and I could articulate my feelings as they were happening. However, like Christmas eve, once Christmas morning arrives, the excitement and emotions diminish. On the eve of her birthday, I was up late, baking, decorating, wrapping, there was no time to blog. :)

I want to make her birthday all about her, but I can't help but celebrate for me. For all that I have been through in three years. My strong marriage, stronger. My tight family, tighter. My broken heart, transformed and bigger. My smile, brighter. It's been three years...

I am so fortunate.

I am so grateful.

I have amazing friends.

I have an amazing family.

I have a GREAT husband.

I am the luckiest mom in the world. (because I have four of the most amazing girls)

Her Birthday Dress for her birthday dinner.

Celebration at the park!

I have embraced my life and it is so beautiful!

Friday, August 5, 2011

"Poop bad!"

I can't stop giggling as I type...

We are constantly encouraging Kamryn to use two words. She has developed a vocabulary and is talking, but is not consistently putting two words together.

She has a few combinations: "Mama's ouse" (Grandmas house), "Me go?", "Thank you", "all done", etc.

The new one, "poop bad!" has me cracking up. As I sit here, I can't believe I am blogging about this. But if it weren't for our girl with the extra chromosome, I wouldn't be blogging at all.

She is fast approaching three and I have not started "potty training." We talk about it and she sits on the potty. However, I never "potty trained" my girls. I know that sounds terrible, but potty training was one thing I never pushed. I wasn't the mom that stayed home for a week so I could put them on the potty several times a day until they "got it". I waited until I felt they were ready and we went straight from diapers to underwear. No pull ups and no accidents. EVER. They were all three years old...I know many people think that's just CRAZY and some people couldn't believe my 2 1/2 year old daughters were not potty trained. To date, I have never read anything that indicates if you potty train earlier than 3 you're super smart. So to me it was no big deal.

I realize, from the little reading I do about Down syndrome, that potty training for Kamryn may take longer. Since her sisters didn't potty train until three, I plan to give her until 3 1/2 before we get aggressive with "training." She is already showing sings of readiness with her two words. She will tell us, "poop bad!" and tap the back of her diaper. We take her to the potty and she sits there for about 10 seconds, says "done" (although nothing has happened) and then about 15 minutes later, we can smell her and she needs a diaper change.

What is exciting here is that Kamryn is using two words! And it is so funny to see her stop, look up, and shout "poop bad!" with urgency and excitement in her voice. This girl makes me smile. More than I ever knew possible.


Today Jaden completed her three weeks of Junior Guards Camp. This year she jumped from the pier! This is the pier she jumped from! Then swam back to shore!

We spend a lot of time at the beach....

Kamryn has graduated from Early Start. Early Start is the program that provides children ages 0-3 services for their special needs. She will be three the end of this month and transitions out of the program. She will begin preschool the end of August. (That is something I really need to write about. We have decided not to put Kamryn in the government offered special needs preschool. She will attend a private preschool that we have found.)

Her speech therepist since she was 3 months old.

So proud!

Summer is quickly moving into fall...in the meantime, we eating as much watermelon as possible!