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, October 4, 2012

Day Three - it's after midnight :(

which means it's day 4! But I am still counting this as day THREE!

Last night Jaden asked me to lay down with her.
I did.
And fell asleep.

I woke up suddenly and realized I had not blogged and it was only day 2 of the 31 for 21 campaign! I could not miss day 2! I dragged myself out of her cozy, warm bed and posted.

Tonight, after a long day at work, homework, soccer practice, dinner, getting the girls to bed, paying bills (wow, as I type this the day sounds so unexciting and uneventful)!

OK, I was just going to be short and sweet, because I am tired, but reading that last sentence about my day did not truly describe how great it was.  Yes, all the above did happen, but there were so many sweet, special, joyful moments too! I took a break from work and picked up Kamryn from school today (my mom ususally does this). She was not happy to see me at school and I was greeted with her usual stomping of the feet and chanting, "Grandma pick me up, Grandma pick me up!"  I am not sure how you are envisioning this scene, but it actually cracks me up. It makes me feel so blessed that she loves her grandma so much! The teachers almost always respond, "be nice to your mom" and after a few minutes she is fine.  I swear those teacher must think I am some big Ogre at home!  But I can't compete with grandma, and I don't try to!

I took her to McDonald's, something my mom usually does (OK, I was trying to compete:). This propelled me to the top of her likeable list and I was happy. :)

Another sweet moment, Jaden came home with 100% on her spelling test! That was awesome! Good grades always excite this mama!

I took Naomi to soccer practice and got to sit on the grass with Brynn while we did her homework.  Watching Naomi practice and sitting with Brynn. Two wonderful ways to spend the evening.

It was a usual day sprinkeld with wonderful moments.

Life is beautiful.
Sleep is too, good night! :)


Tuesday, October 2, 2012

Day Two-Waiting for the bus.

I can remember, when I heard other mothers sharing how their children (preschoolers) rode the bus to school, I thought they were crazy!
My thoughts: None of my children have ever ridden a bus to school and neither will Kamryn!

This morning (October 2, 2012) waiting for the bus.  (Maybe I will write more about this decision later.  I am happy to share I am much less judgmental about the choices other people make for their families...lesson #152 I have learned over the last 4 years.)

                                  Field trip today with Brynn's class. We walked to the local aquarium.

It was a beautiful day. Life is beautiful.

Monday, October 1, 2012

Down Syndrome Awareness!

I can't believe it's October 1st!  This means we are heading into the holiday season and the New Year is right around the corner!  I don't want to get ahead of myself, and trust me I consciously try to live in the moment-day-by-day, but our annual Halloween party will need to be planned soon, then Halloween, Thanksgiving and Christmas will arrive (plus a million other great days in between) and boom, 2013. 

What forced me here tonight is something very personal.  Anyone who reads my blog is aware of my (our) story....our youngest daughter, Kamryn has Down syndrome.  After almost drowning in grief the first year of her life (do to her diagnosis), I am back to being on top of my world.  Embracing my life, soaking up the joys that exist in each day, taking the challenges in stride and just feeling incredibly blessed. And HAPPY.

It's good. It's really good. In fact, I don't want to brag, but my life is pretty amazing! One (of the many) heartaches I had during the first year was that our life was no longer normal. That we were now different from everybody else.  And this wasn't a good different. This was an uncomfortable different.

I am no longer uncomfortable with my life, and sadly, it was never my life I was uncomfortable with. I was uncomfortable with Down syndrome. 

October is Down syndrome Awareness Month. The blogging community challenges those of us to a 31 for 21 campaign.  Post everyday on your blog (31 days), to spread awareness about Trisomy 21 (the medical term for Down syndrome).  I hesitate to jump into this challenge, because as you can see by my blog I don't even post weekly!  But I sit here tonight and plan to participate. I am reminding myself, just like I remind my girls,  "Just try your best and we are proud of you!"  I will try my best to post something every day to join in the effort to spread awareness.

My life is not normal.  Read the definition and you won't want your life to be normal either..."conforming to the standard or the common type, average."

This is definitely not normal. :) I know the last thing I said when I stepped out of the car was,  "Stay in your car seat and keep your seat belt on!"

Please take a minute everyday to visit my blog and share it with someone. Down syndrome awareness, PASS IT ON!

Tuesday, August 21, 2012

Dreading it.

I'm dreading tomorrow.  Only a tiny bit, but at this moment the dread is all consuming.  The alarm clock will be sounding off early, five days a week for the next 10 months. With work, I have had to be up and out, but now we all have to be up and out the door and going well beyond 5'oclock.

I seemed to appreciate this summer so much more than before.  The girls are getting older and all of them are playing sports and involved with extra curricular activities.  Not only are we out the door early to get to school (and myself to work), we get home and have homework, (throw in a load of laundry), head to practices, (put a meal together), read, (fold laundry), shower and bed. 

I considered putting a hold on all sports and extra activities this year.  The days are flying by, the weeks turning into months and I now have a 6th grader, 3rd grader, 1st grader and preschooler.  My babies are no longer babies and I feel like I don't see them enough, spend enough time with them and all this other "stuff" has taken over and intervened with our time together. School is consuming enough, then add all the extras.  I am not sure why I didn't pull them out of soccer (or basketball or swimming or what ever the seasonal sport is), why I want them in music lessons, why I feel guilty if they don't get their 30 minutes of reading in each day.

But until I stop all the extras...instead of feeling overwhelmed with it, I have decided to wake up and move through the day with joy and appreciation for it.  I take turns being at each of their practices, I sit and read with them (I enjoy 30 minutes of a good book too), and I have realized that dinner can be fresh fruit and toast (and everybody is still happy).

What I really dread is missing them....

Friday, August 17, 2012

Holding onto summer....

I can't believe I'm sitting here, typing.  I have been here several times this summer, in my head. Mentally writing rough drafts while I lay in bed or walk on the treadmill.  Sometimes they were very emotional, thought out, serious subjects and other times I was just going over the day and remembering the small things that made it so great.  My last post was in June, right after the Buddy Walk. That event has become the kick off to our summer. And now we are at the end and I have no posts in between. This summer I had two projects on the to do list: Clean out the garage and play room. Neither got accomplished. But we have had tons of fun! And the girls are all very tan! 

I have wanted to write about the days at the beach (watching all my girls in the water, unafraid of the huge ocean and screaming with joy as the waves crashed into them), Brynn's love of gymnastic camp (even before the Olympics came on. Then, we got to witness Gabby Douglas win GOLD and now she wants to be an Olympian :), the triathlon all three older girls completed (Brynn taking her time across the pool, waving and smiling as we cheered), our annual summer trip to Palm Springs (where we met up with awesome friends), the weekend in Seattle (to share in the joy of my BFF finding love!),  the four weeks of life guard camp Jaden and Naomi did, Kamryn's summer school experience-which included her riding the bus for the first time! This last one was an emotional, long, thought-out decision. None of my babies have EVER ridden a bus to school. When this first took place, it was something to write about. But tonight, those emotions and feelings are gone and I just love the picture of her walking (or strutting to the bus). If I had a "really good" camera, you would see her in the window smiling and waving to me. She loved the bus, it was her mom who was not fond of the idea! :)

The days have been without routine and structure.  Today, we did not get dressed and tonight we played basket ball in the driveway until 8:45. At 9:00 they were eating dinner. (I must confess, dinner was cereal and toast.) Who cooks at 9:00 at night?

Oh summer, I am going to miss you! But we know you will be back next year!