Monday, November 22, 2010

I love this time of year!

How could you not? To start...yesterday was my birthday!! I'm proud to say I'm 33 years young! I'm one of thouse people that LOVES birthdays, so I have no issues with my age! It helps that my husband is older than me, and most of my friends are older than me! Just say'n!

I love, love, love the holidays and all that come with it! I love the gathering of family & friends, fabulous food as far as the eye can see, snow on the grounds, using Santa as a bribery mechonism, ohh, did I just say that? Anyway, one of our favorite Christmas storys is the Polar Express. And thanks to Grandma & Grandpa, we got to ride on it!! There is a town about 200 miles away called Hood River, Or. that decks out one of their trains for a few weekends so that the Polar Express can come to life. It was so much fun watching Gracie's facial expressions. She truely BELIEVES! We got the shirt that says so! Here are a few pictures from our Polar Express adventure.

We boarded the Polar Express to find a hot chocolate mug and a plate of cookies for each one of us!

Gracie got her ticket ready because the Conductor was coming around to punch everyones tickets!

He made it "snow" on her head! She thought that was pretty cool!!

Jake got some "snow" too! He was not as impressed as Gracie was!

Then the Conductor announced that there was a bum (the ghost from the story) on the train and to watch for him so the Conductor could kick him off!

There he is!

We had to stop because there were caraboo on the tracks!

Then the Conductor announced that Santa had boarded the train!!

Santa gave each of the kids a bell...Gracie instantly jiggled it to make sure she still believed!

See, still making sure she believes!!

"Mom, I believe...I really do", almost with tears in her eyes. She was so excited! It was about the sweetist thing she has ever done!

It was a great trip! Thank you Grandma & Grandpa!

Thursday, November 11, 2010

Carrie, go get your tissues now...

Our local Down syndrome group hands out a binder to new parents of children with Down syndrome. We got ours, along with a bunch of books about Down syndrome when we left the hospital with Jake. The binder has information about DSAMC (Down Syndrome Association of the Mid Columbia), and stories from parents in the group. The binder is being updated and we were asked to share Jake's story! Here it is!!

Our life with Jake
Our lives were forever changed in ways we never thought imaginable on September 25, 2008. That was the day that Jake was born. To us, his birth was pretty typical, nothing out of the ordinary. I was pretty shocked and a little disturbed to see that each of his hands had two webbed fingers, but “we see it all the time, it’s a easy fix” we were assured by the delivering doctor. I tucked my beautiful baby boy’s hands into his blanket so nobody would see, judge, make fun of, or love him any less. I was ashamed of myself for doing such a thing, but it felt like the right thing to do. I was protecting my son. We were about to learn that our sons hands were the least of our worries. Our pediatrician came to our room later on that evening, and started doing her newborn check up. Without skipping a beat she looked at us and said, “I believe Jake has Down syndrome”. Confused, heartbroken, scared, shocked, and in total disbelief were only a few of the emotions that slapped us in the face right at that moment. We spent the next few hours try to process that kind of life changing information. There was a lot of silence between out burst of crying that night. A lot of, “what are we going to do, how did this happen, I don’t know anything about Down syndrome” was said between Zach and I. A wave of extreme mental and physical exhaustion fell over us. We looked at each other, agreed that we were going to be ok and fell asleep. That was short lived. A few hours later our nurse came into our room to do her checks on Jake and decided to take him to the nursery because she wasn’t getting a good reading on his oxygen levels. Turns out, she did have a good reading. Jake had very poor oxygen saturations. Off to the NICU he goes. He spent 24 hours in the NICU, then another 48 hours on the Peds floor. While we were waiting to get the ok to go home, his diagnosis was confirmed. He did in fact have Down syndrome. I felt my heart break a little more seeing it on paper, but I was completely drained of emotion by this point. We went home.

Jake’s first year was exhausting. Not only were we still trying to accept our new life, but we were trying to understand it as well. Parades of people, necessary people, were brought into our lives. Social workers, in home nurses, developmental therapist, and medical specialist, to name a few. Exhausting. He had a lot of major medical issues to overcome as well. We spent a majority of his first year dealing with health issues. We became very familiar with MedStar, and Seattle Children’s Hospital. The silver cloud to this story…we learned who we are, and what we are made of. Acceptance is no longer an issue. We fully accept Jake the way he is and would have him no other way. We learned that we are not as weak as we once thought. Jake made us open our eyes to how precious life is. Trust me when I tell you, it took a long time to come to terms and accept that Down Syndrome is in fact a gift. It’s a different gift for each and every one of us. The gift is what you make of it. We choose to embrace Down syndrome as part of our lives. We don’t hide it, we don’t run from it, we love it and embrace it for the gift that it has given us.

The most important thing that we have learned is this…it will come with time. Acceptance will come. Understanding will come. Goals will come. In their own time, all things will come. And life will be good!

Monday, November 8, 2010


I'm doing my best to not go a month between posts...but I got nothin'! I take that back, I have a few Halloween pics...

Gracie was a Starbucks drinking Glitter Witch!

And Jake was a monster! Or is a monster...or...whatever...

In other of my oldest friends got married over the weekend! I don't want to show off too much because I'm sure she has way better pictures that are about to come out, but here are a few...

Shannon & JR's daughter Chloe! Prettiest little flower girl ever!

Mrs. Shannon Thomas!

And every ones favorite picture!!
Congratulations Shannon, JR, Chloe, and baby boy soon to come!!