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!

Friday, September 30, 2011

Getting Ready!

October is Down Syndrome Awareness Month. This is the second year I am attempting the challenge to post something on my blog everyday during the month of October.

31 for 21 - 31 representing the days in October and 21 representing Trisomy 21, the medical term for Down syndrome.

Here is to another kind of getting ready...



I love my girls curly hair. Until the age of 3 I let them wear it natural. Natural, meaning maybe a quick brushing or combing in the morning, maybe not. By the time they turn 3, it has grown and brushing and combing become a must or they just look unkempt. I have the hair routine down. I can get all the girls hair brushed, put in a pony tail or braid, in 10 minutes! It amazing what you get excited about when you're a mom. Trust me, that is exciting!

I am also excited about Down syndrome awareness month. I'm getting ready!

Sunday, September 25, 2011


I could have many titles for this post:

The sadness surfaced

Sick Kids

First Day of School


I settled on thankful, because that has been my overwhelming emotion lately.


When I was "younger" (in high school, because I am still young:) I had read a study that stated a majority of successful people set goals. Not only do they set goals, they actually write them out and the steps it will take to achieve them. After reading that I wrote a goal (keep in mind I was about to graduate from high school),
Goal: Graduate from college. In four years.

OK, so it wasn't anything super exciting, but the decisions I made during college were made so I could reach my goal. I started at a junior college and began immediately, enrolling in summer school. A year and a half later when I was ready to transfer I kept hearing, "Due to your major you may not always get the classes you need, therefore expect to be here three years." My major, and apparently everyone else in school, was Business Administration. That issue was a stumbling block for my goal, so I went to a private university and finished in 4 years.

I find the power of writing fascinating. When I write about a wonderful moment or something exciting we've done, it's an opportunity to relive the joy and happiness from that experience. It seems to imprint the memory deeper into my heart. When I write about something that makes me angry or sad, I can feel the release of those emotions and the negative energy flows right out as I type. All of the sudden, I feel better.

A few weeks ago Kamryn was evaluated by a psychologist to determine if she would remain eligible for services other than speech therapy and adaptive PE she is receiving. The psychologist was very warm and friendly (not the impression I usually have when I think of a psychologist). I immediately recognized the faint accent in his voice and I asked if he was from the Midwest. He was from Illinois, and not only did he look like an Uncle of mine, he sounded like him too. For what ever reason that relaxed me.

I was asked a series of questions, personal and general. and then it was Kamryn's turn. She sat right next to me, alone in her adult chair. It was odd to see my little girls feet dangling from the chair, her arms up on the desk, and her hands folded. She looked liked she was on a job interview. She was actually leaning forward as if she were ready and eager to participate.

Being there, at that appointment, in that room, the sadness began to surface. This is the "part" that I don't like and still struggle with. The reminder that Kamryn has Down syndrome. It's not that she has Down syndrome that bothers me, it's that sometimes I still feel sad about it. Yes, it still hurts. This day the sadness surfaced and my heart was heavy.

Then he began his questions:

"What is your name?"
"How old are you?"
"What color is grass?"
"Can you name some animals?"
"How many sisters do you have?"

There were many questions and some manipulative testing too. For example, he took 8 blocks, set them up in a specific way and handed her 8 blocks. Then he asked her to set them up like he had. As this interview progressed, I could feel myself getting warm and I started to focus on holding back the tears. You know the tears, the slow ones, the kind that just slowly well up in your eyes. There is no heavy breathing or huffing and puffing. Just tears. I felt like I was in the wrong place for a second..I couldn't believe I was sitting there having my daughter interviewed to determine her developmental delay. I couldn't believe Kamryn had Down syndrome. For a few seconds I thought maybe I was dreaming and that this whole "thing" wasn't happening.

Then, it was over. As we walked out Kamryn placed her purse over her shoulder, looked up at me with a huge smile and said, "Yogurt Creations?" I looked down at her and all the sadness vanished and I said, "Yes, Yogurt Creations."

Sitting with her, watching her enjoy her yogurt I was reminded (again) that Down syndrome doesn't matter. Sometimes there is sadness, but everyday I have beautiful, tiny, simple moments that remind me what is important and what matters. Honestly, what is better than sitting outside with your daughter, on a warm sunny day, enjoying some yogurt? When you can take life and break it down into it's purest most simple form...you will find true happiness in each day. I am so thankful I have that.


TROUBLE...she has earned the name. The other day I turned on the shower, went into my closet for a second, and came out to this...

The other day she went missing...look where we found her!

OK, I call her TROUBLE, but she is so darn CUTE!:)


The past two weeks we have had sick kids. Anytime you have a sick child, all the balls you are juggling begin to drop. Usually one by one. At least that is what happens in my house. The past two weeks I have been busy picking up one ball at a time and tossing it back into the air. As soon as I do that, another one drops and it becomes a constant cycle of feeling like it's all falling apart.

But it's really not. It just feels that way. Today all the girls are healthy and everyone will be back in school tomorrow and for now all the balls will be in the air again.

The 5th grader.

The 2nd grader.

KINDERGARTEN! Another baby of
mine has started school!

Everyday you can find tiny, wonderful moments and something to be thankful for. When I have my sad moments, which are rare, I am thankful for them too. When they are gone, I always feel stronger. Thankful is how I feel lately. Thankful for my husband, thankful for my children, thankful for my mom and friends, just thankful for life.

Life is truly beautiful.

Friday, September 9, 2011

Celebrating 8!

Naomi is 8!

Naomi and Kamryn are a week apart. This means in a matter of 8 days we have two birthday breakfasts, two birthday dinners, two birthday parties and I decorate the house two times...I started several birthday traditions not knowing that my children would have birthdays soooo close together. (Jaden and Brynn are a day apart)! I have always wanted to make sure their day was their own, so I have never combined the festivities.

Birthday morning

Birthday afternoon...surprised with a gift of two bunnies from her dearest friend Emmy. (Auntie Vicky is in so much trouble...yes there are two!)

Birthday Dinner

Walking to the park after dinner, enjoying ice cream.

Getting ready for the swim party. This is NOT her suit! :)

I just like this picture :)

I love this girl. So much!