Friday, December 28, 2007

Feast of the Holy Innocents


Today in the Church we remember the innocent children killed by Harod. According to the Gospel of Matthew 2:13-18
Now when they had departed, behold, an angel of the Lord appeared to Joseph in a dream and said, "Rise, take the Child and His mother, and flee to Egypt, and remain there till I tell you: for Herod is about to search for the Child, to destroy Him." And he rose and took the Child and His mother by night, and departed to Egypt, and remained there until the death of Herod. This was to fulfill what the Lord had spoken by the prophet, "Out of Egypt have I called My Son."

Then Herod, when he saw that he had been tricked by the wise men, was in a furious rage, and he sent and killed all the male children in Bethlehem and in all that region who were two years old or under, according to the time which he had ascertained from the wise men. Then was fulfilled what was spoken by the prophet Jeremiah:

"A voice was heard in Ramah, wailing and loud lamentation: Rachel weeping for her children; she refused to be consoled because they were no more."

Note: Scripture readings are from the Revised Standard Version - Catholic Edition

Thursday, December 20, 2007

Saturday, December 15, 2007

Date Nights

Well, we're dating...sort of.

Thursday night was date night with the kids. Steve took Abbey (and Andrew) to a Parent and Child (PAC) activity night at school. As you can see from the pictures below they made gingerbread houses. She did a great job and they had a really fun time. That same night I took Alex to the UW-Marinette Children's Theater production of Seussical the Musical (which was the story of "Horton Hears a Who"). Alex loved it. He sat on the edge of the seat (mostly because he wasn't heavy enough to keep the seat from flipping up if he sat back) and bounced to the music and swung his arms. He was so into it. He followed the story line and asked good questions about it. He especially loved intermission where he got to eat a cookie and drink some juice. The play was very good but what I enjoyed most about it was watching Alex have such a good time.

Then last night we actually got a babysitter to watch Abbey and Alex and we went to my work Christmas party at a local restaurant. Even though we had Andrew with us it was great to get out and enjoy adult company, have a glass of wine and eat good food.

Next step in the dating process...just the two of us...stay tuned.

Thursday, December 13, 2007

Gingerbread House






Tonight at Abbey's school they were making Gingerbread Houses. We had a great time!

I LOVE MY GADGETS!

Kim is always telling me I love my gadgets and roles her eyes every time I ask her about buying a new one. Before I go on I just want to say that I have very good reasons for buying gadgets and have cut back since we had Abbey. With that being said, my latest purchase was a new digital camera. We have a smaller digital camera and it takes good pictures. It is small and easy to take with you when you go somewhere but has a slow response time. This becomes problematic when you are taking pictures of kids, especially Abbey. My new purchase is much faster. The disadvantage is that it is big.
I have posted (on the sidebar)some picture I took with the new camera. I'm still trying to understand the settings. I was into photography when I was in High School and College. I loved it but it was expensive and time consuming.
Sorry Kim, but it is like I have found a new love. I have spent hours on the Internet refreshing my memory about aperture and shutter speeds. Enjoy and I'm sure I will have more pictures soon.
Finally, this is a long term investment and something that the kids will enjoy (the pictures) when they get older. I told you I have good reasons for my gadgets!

Wednesday, December 12, 2007

IEP Update

As discussed at our IEP meeting last week Abbey was going to start her new schedule this week. It was going to be:
Monday: 12:00-3:10
Tuesday: 10:00-3:10
Wednesday: 10:45-3:10
Thursday: 10:00-3:10
Friday: 12:00-3:10
Something happened and the schedule sent home to us did not have her going to school early on Wednesdays. It was clear to us at the IEP that she would be going early on Tuesday, Wednesday and Thursday to receive her OT, PT, Speech, and work with a teacher of the the hearing impaired. The mix up doesn't seem like a big deal and probably something easy to fix but it seems like it is always something. It could be medical issues(see Narrow Ridge)or school related services, but always something.
This one of the reason why we decided I stay at home with the kids. It is unfortunate, but someone needs to continuously follow up on matters. We have been very fortunate that I am able to do this. I'm not sure I am cut out to take on this role and at times it is a little overwhelming. Sometimes I am a slow learner but God gives me the grace to handle it and often reminds me I can do nothing without Him.
I'm sure I will have more later.

Thursday, December 6, 2007

We are still here!

The last several weeks have been full of fun but busy. We made a late decision to go to Kentucky for Thanksgiving. We had a great time and I'm glad the my family was able to see Andrew for the first time. The kids were great on our trip down and the way home. It sure makes things much more enjoyable.
The last several weeks I have been busy. Andrew is not on a great schedule at this time which makes things a little more difficult to find time during the day to do things beside take are of things around the house. Also, we have had two IEP meeting for Abbey. We have not been completely satisfied with the the amount of services she is getting. She was getting 25 hours of services a week in CT and when we moved that was reduced to 15. We made some improvements last night but we are still not convinced it will be enough.
I have posted some new pictures of the kids. Enjoy!

Friday, November 9, 2007

Open, Close, In, Out.

Most of Abbey's playing consist of opening and closing things or putting things in or taking things out of something. At times this is difficult becasue she likes to put things down the air vents in the floor, like my father's keys which we spent 30 minutes looking for. That's a completely different story. Our new house is old and has big vents which have become a favorite place for Abbey to put things. I guess I'm going to put chiken wire over them so she can't do this. She also like to put things down her shirt or her pants and when Kim was changing her diaper this morning Abbey had put a Mr. Potato Head mustache down her pajamas before going to bed last night. How uncomfortable that must have been.

Thursday, November 8, 2007

Never enough locks!


When we moved into our new house we had to buy a new refrigerator because the previous owners took theirs with them. We were OK with this because we really wanted one with a lock on the water dispenser. Abbey had a habit of going over and getting her own water (which is a nice way of putting it). It was always at the worst of times and usually caused much frustration.
This morning while she was playing in the kitchen she finally noticed the water dispenser and made a mad dash for it and I just sat, watched, and smiled because I knew we had a lock on it. This new little feature has already paid off.

Reminder

This morning as I prepared breakfast for myself and Abbey, I expected it to go as usual. I had to remove her from the tempting empty cabinet in the dining room, she needed to be told 3 times to climb up into her booster chair, and I had to get her off the dining room table before she literally "hung from the chandelier". So after all of that activity the two of us sat down to eat our waffles. It was quiet in the house at 6:00am, but it was not quiet in my head. I was already frustrated by that time of the day. Which as I said at the start of this entry, is the usual. I often think, why can't she just get it!?!

Well, today Abbey decided to remind me that she is special. So I was annoyed with her as I was cutting up her waffle. I gave her a bite, reached for my fork and started cutting off a piece for myself when she touched my arm with two little pats. I looked up and she motioned the sign for "Thank you". My heart melted. All of that frustration went away...she does get it. She gets what really matters...

So later when I had picked up her cup for the third time from the floor, had to remove her from the cabinet again right after breakfast, and she had climbed up on the table and ate from her brother's plate, I wasn't annoyed with her. I remembered her gesture and reminded myself she's got a beautiful soul, she requires different attention and a lot of patience.

Tuesday, November 6, 2007

New Pictures


I have uploaded pictures on the sidebar.
Enjoy!

Friday, November 2, 2007

We're here

We have arrived in MI! We're getting more settled every day. The trip was really good. My expectations were so exceeded. Abbey and Alex couldn't have been better in the car for the 20 or so hours we were on the road over the two days. And we only used the DVD player for the last 2 1/2 hours. (My mom had Andrew which was a huge help! THANKS!). And now we've almost got all the boxes unpacked because Turk's mom is here helping watch the kids. THANKS!

We managed to get to Abbey's Halloween Parade at school this week. How cute! And we even took the kids trick-or-treating.

I started work today and I can't begin to tell you how great my 4 minute commute is. The time I have spent at home with my family today is already noticeably more than before when my commute was almost an hour each way. And I am looking forward to getting home for lunch sometimes and being able to go to Abbey's school for things.

All in all, the family seems to have adjusted pretty well. Thanks to everyone for their support during the move.

Happy Birthday, Mom!!!

Friday, October 26, 2007

Bill would support parents of children with disabilities


I don't get into politics that much but I'm supporting this bill. It would mandate that parents receive real information about having a child with special needs. Ever since Abbey was born we have tried to reach out to other parents who are expecting a child with down Syndrome. This bill would hopefully open the doors in spreading the truth.

Wednesday, October 24, 2007

Final days

We are in our final days in our house. Abbey was sick over the weekend and we are praying no one else gets it on the trip out to MI. I'm usually the one who gets what she has had.
Everything else it coming along. We are packing all the stuff for the van tonight. The movers are coming tomorrow to pack and Friday they load our stuff.
Abbey starts school next Tuesday. We are very excited about this. I have had several conversations with her teacher and others who will be working with her. We are still working on a schedule for her because the current they have in place does not fit her needs. She needs more hours. By law they are required to model her current IEP for the first 30 days. They have been more than helpful and have told us that she will get what she needs. It almost sounds too good to be true.
We have a long drive ahead of us. I will try an post over the weekend.

St. Christpher. Pray for us!

Friday, October 19, 2007

It's going to be close


While I was on the phone with the realtor getting the size of the TV room in our new house Abbey was measuring the couch for me. She's not sure it's going to fit!

I have added some pictures on the sidebar. Also, when Kim's brother sends me pictures of Andrew's baptism I will post them. Enjoy!

Wednesday, October 17, 2007

Lord, hear my prayer......


As we get closer to the move and things become more hectic I have found it a little more difficult to be possitive. The stress around the house has increased so I took a few minutes this morning to reflect on Psalm 102 and 103.
LORD, hear my prayer; let my cry come to you.
Do not hide your face from me now that I am in distress. Turn your ear to me; when I call, answer me quickly.
For my days vanish like smoke; my bones burn away as in a furnace.
I am withered, dried up like grass, too wasted to eat my food.
From my loud groaning I become just skin and bones.
I am like a desert owl, like an owl among the ruins.
I lie awake and moan, like a lone sparrow on the roof.
All day long my enemies taunt me; in their rage, they make my name a curse.
I eat ashes like bread, mingle my drink with tears.
Because of your furious wrath, you lifted me up just to cast me down.
My days are like a lengthening shadow; I wither like the grass.
But you, LORD, are enthroned forever; your renown is for all generations.
Psalm 103
Of David.
Bless the LORD, my soul; all my being, bless his holy name!
Bless the LORD, my soul; do not forget all the gifts of God,
Who pardons all your sins, heals all your ills,
Delivers your life from the pit, surrounds you with love and compassion,
Fills your days with good things; your youth is renewed like the eagle's.
The LORD does righteous deeds, brings justice to all the oppressed.
His ways were revealed to Moses, mighty deeds to the people of Israel.
Merciful and gracious is the LORD, slow to anger, abounding in kindness.
God does not always rebuke, nurses no lasting anger,
Has not dealt with us as our sins merit, nor requited us as our deeds deserve.
As the heavens tower over the earth, so God's love towers over the faithful.

Monday, October 15, 2007

Prayers Needed

Please pray for Ian(over at Narrow Ridge), his family, and all the medical staff today as he has open heart surgery today.

Prayer Before Surgery
Loving Father, I entrust myself to your care this day; guide with wisdom and skill the minds and hands of the medical people who minister in your Name, and grant that every cause of illness be removed, I may be restored to soundness of health and learn to live in more perfect harmony with you and with those around me. Through Jesus Christ. Amen.

Into your hands, I commend my body and my soul. Amen.

Prayer for Doctors and Nurses
O merciful Father, who have wonderfully fashioned man in your own image, and have made his body to be a temple of the Holy Spirit, sanctify, we pray you, our doctors and nurses and all those whom you have called to study and practice the arts of healing the sick and the prevention of disease and pain. Strengthen them in body and soul, and bless their work, that they may give comfort to those for whose salvation your Son became Man, lived on this earth, healed the sick, and suffered and died on the Cross. Amen.

Saturday, October 13, 2007

Chapter.....

As you know I went back to work this week. The report back is that everyone is still alive (but there is a huge pile of laundry to do). People kept asking me if it was difficult coming back to work. I would tell them that it was a little but not as difficult as if I had to leave my kids with a babysitter. I am one of those "lucky" women whose husband cares for our children while I work. ("Mommy brings home the bacon" as Turk has taught Alex to say...he says it so cute too). Not that I love the fact that I am the one working but I have come to accept that as my sacrifice for our family. And even though I probably don't say it or show it enough, I do appreciate and I am blessed to have a husband who is making his own sacrifice for our family by not working (and dealing with all of the other stuff that comes with it...like moving.) This is a stressful time for us. There is just so much going on. And moving away from family is always a difficult thing to do. We just keep reminding ourselves that each challenge is a chapter in this book or a piece to the puzzle that God is creating for our family.

One of the more joyful things that we celebrated recently was Andrew's Baptism. Obviously, I love receiving and witnessing the Sacraments, but I particularly enjoy Baptism. There is just something so special about initiating this little life into the Church and telling him that all of those wonderful things about being a Christian and a Catholic are ahead of him. It is just awesome. What is a bit overwhelming, but at the same time is a gift, is to think about our job as parents and godparents...to always be a witness to these little souls in order to lead them to Heaven.

God give us the graces to be able to do so and the patience to get through the next few weeks.

Friday, October 12, 2007

Wednesday, October 10, 2007

Month of the Rosary


On Sunday we were having Andrew baptized (Kim will post more on that later) so we arrived at the Church early in order to reserve enough seats. Everyone was packed and ready to go and as we walked into Church Father had just began the Rosary and it was then that I remembered that Father was going to say the Rosary before each Mass because October is the month of the Rosary.

Over the years the Rosary has become a more important part of my prayer life and a part of our family prayer life. It is something that has grown on me but it is still something that I prefer prayed with others. Alex loves to take the rosary to Church and it has been a good way for us to teach him about Jesus and Mary and how to treat things like the rosary (sacramentals). My father-in law had some questions about the Rosary so I told him I would post on it and so here it is.


History of the Rosary

Fr. William Saunders has a good explanation on the history of the rosary.

The rosary is one of the most cherished prayers of our Catholic Church. Introduced by the Creed, the Our Father, three Hail Marys and the Doxology ("Glory Be"), and concluded with the Salve Regina, the rosary involves the recitation of five decades consisting of the Our Father, 10 Hail Marys and the Doxology. During this recitation, the individual meditates on the saving mysteries of our Lord's life and the faithful witness of our Blessed Mother.

Journeying through the Joyful, Sorrowful and Glorious mysteries of the rosary, the individual brings to mind our Lord's incarnation, His passion and death and His resurrection from the dead. In so doing, the rosary assists us in growing in a deeper appreciation of these mysteries, in uniting our life more closely to our Lord and in imploring His graced assistance to live the faith. We also ask for the prayers of our Blessed Mother, who leads all believers to her Son.

The origins of the rosary are "sketchy" at best. The use of "prayer beads" and the repeated recitation of prayers to aid in meditation stem from the earliest days of the Church and has roots in pre-Christian times. Evidence exists from the Middle Ages that strings of beads were used to count Our Fathers and Hail Marys. Actually, these strings of beads became known as "Paternosters," the Latin for "Our Father."

The structure of the rosary gradually evolved between the 12th and 15th centuries. Eventually 50 Hail Marys were recited and linked with verses of psalms or other phrases evoking the lives of Jesus and Mary. During this time, this prayer form became known as the rosarium ("rose garden"), actually a common term to designate a collection of similar material, such as an anthology of stories on the same subject or theme. During the 16th century, the structure of the five-decade rosary based on the three sets of mysteries prevailed.

Tradition does hold that St. Dominic (d. 1221) devised the rosary as we know it. Moved by a vision of our Blessed Mother, he preached the use of the rosary in his missionary work among the Albigensians, who had denied the mystery of Christ. Some scholars take exception to St. Dominic's role in forming the rosary. The earliest accounts of his life do not mention it, the Dominican constitutions do not link him with it and contemporaneous portraits do not include it as a symbol to identify the saint.

In 1922, Dom Louis Cougaud stated, "The various elements which enter into the composition of that Catholic devotion commonly called the rosary are the product of a long and gradual development which began before St. Dominic's time, which continued without his having any share in it, and which only attained its final shape several centuries after his death." However, other scholars would rebut that St. Dominic not so much "invented" the rosary as he preached its use to convert sinners and those who had strayed from the faith. Moreover, at least a dozen popes have mentioned St. Dominic's connection with the rosary, sanctioning his role as at least a "pious belief."

The rosary gained greater popularity in the 1500s, when Moslem Turks were ravaging Eastern Europe. Recall that in 1453, Constantinople had fallen to the Moslems, leaving the Balkans and Hungary open to conquest. With Moslems raiding even the coast of Italy, the control of the Mediterranean was now at stake.

In 1571, Pope Pius V organized a fleet under the command of Don Juan of Austria the half-brother of King Philip II of Spain. While preparations were underway, the Holy Father asked all of the faithful to say the rosary and implore our Blessed Mother's prayers, under the title Our Lady of Victory, that our Lord would grant victory to the Christians. Although the Moslem fleet outnumbered that of the Christians in both vessels and sailors, the forces were ready to meet in battle. The Christian flagship flew a blue banner depicting Christ crucified. On October 7, 1571, the Moslems were defeated at the Battle of Lepanto. The following year, Pope St. Pius V established the Feast of the Holy Rosary on October 7, where the faithful would not only remember this victory, but also give thanks to the Lord for all of His benefits and remember the powerful intercession of our Blessed Mother.

The fact that our Church continues to include the Feast of the Holy Rosary on the liturgical calendar testifies to the importance and goodness of this form of prayer. Archbishop Fulton Sheen said, "The rosary is the book of the blind, where souls see and there enact the greatest drama of love the world has ever known; it is the book of the simple, which initiates them into mysteries and knowledge more satisfying than the education of other men; it is the book of the aged, whose eyes close upon the shadow of this world, and open on the substance of the next. The power of the rosary is beyond description."


Sites on the Rosary

Holy Spirit Interactive
Family Rosary

Tuesday, October 9, 2007

My six weeks are over

Kim went back to work yesterday and if you were to ask her she would tell you my six weeks of vacation are over. I must be honest and say it was difficult at times having both of us at home. Me being the one at home all the time I have a certain routine and a certain way of doing things and having her around confused things a little. With that being said, it would be unfair to say I didn't appreciate her company and all she did when she was home.

Yesterday was interesting. Kim's first day back and Abbey didn't have school. All I can say is everyone survived. On the way out the door Kim told me if I had time the kid's laundry needed to be done. I responded with a quick, "not today".

Today has been much better. Andrew slept from 10pm-5am (hopefully this becomes a pattern). Kim got up and gave him a bottle while I stayed upstairs until the other two got up. Kim left for work around 7 and Abbey was to get on the bus around 8. Everything was going great until Alex decided to get up around 7:30 and then wanted breakfast. The first thing our kids ask for when they get up is to eat. You would think they never got fed. Abbey still needed to get her school clothes on so I did that while Alex was eating. Andrew began to cry because he wanted something to eat but I was trying to hold him off until the bus came. It couldn't come soon enough. Finally, Alex yelled from the kitchen table that Abbey's bus was here so I got her on the bus and Andrew finally got his bottle. The rest of the morning was peaceful. Andrew has been taking naps while Alex and I have been reading and playing with his new Thomas the Train set he got from his Poppy. I even started the laundry, like I promised. I'm the King at starting it but not finishing it. I always tell Kim it's the intention that counts.

Tuesday, October 2, 2007

Memorial of Guardian Angels

Today is the Memorial of Guardian Angels. Guardians were not nearly as important to me before I had children. Even thought they are not just for children they seem to add a level of comfort to me as a parent.
Every person on earth has a guardian angel who watches over him and helps him to attain his salvation. Angelical guardianship begins at the moment of birth; prior to this, the child is protected by the mother's guardian angel. It continues throughout our whole life and ceases only when our probation on earth ends, namely, at the moment of death. Our guardian angel accompanies the soul to purgatory or heaven, and becomes our coheir in the heavenly kingdom.

(READ MORE)

God our Father, in your loving providence you send your holy angels to watch over us. Hear our prayers, defend us always by their protection and let us share your life with them for ever. We ask this through our Lord Jesus Christ, your Son, who lives and reigns with you and the Holy Spirit, one God, for ever and ever. Amen.

Monday, October 1, 2007

October

October is Down Syndrome Awareness Month

Local Buddy Walks Spread Message of Acceptance and Inclusion

NEW YORK - The National Down Syndrome Society (NDSS) and the Down syndrome community invite the public to celebrate Down Syndrome Awareness Month this October. There will be special opportunities across the country to learn about Down syndrome and to promote acceptance and inclusion of individuals born with this genetic condition.

"People with Down syndrome, like everyone else, are people first, each with their own unique gifts to contribute to their families, friends and communities," said NDSS Chief Operating Officer Jon Colman. "Down Syndrome Awareness Month provides a forum for dispelling stereotypes, providing accurate information, and raising awareness of the potential of individuals with Down syndrome."

Did you know...

One in every 733 babies born in the U.S. has Down syndrome. The life expectancy of people with Down syndrome has increased dramatically in recent decades - from 25 in 1983 to 56 today. In that same span of time, advancements in education, research and advocacy have had a tremendous impact on the opportunities that individuals with Down syndrome have to live healthy and fulfilling lives. Today, many people with Down syndrome:

* Attend neighborhood schools and learn in typical classes alongside their peerswithout disabilities.
* Graduate from high school and go to college.
* Comprise a vibrant part of the American workforce.
* Actively participate in the social and recreational aspects of their communities.
* Live independently, make their own choices, and advocate for their rights.

The Buddy Walk

The Down syndrome community has been celebrating Down Syndrome Awareness Month each October since 1981. The Buddy Walk was created by NDSS in 1995 to provide its affiliates and other local groups with a way to promote acceptance and inclusion of individuals with Down syndrome in their communities. The Buddy Walk also raises funds for local and national programs and services to benefit individuals with Down syndrome and their families.

Anyone can participate in this one-mile walk. With more than 250 Buddy Walks taking place in the United States this year - most held in October - there is one near you! Visit www.BuddyWalk.org to see a map of local walks. To learn more about Down syndrome and obtain information to share with others during Down Syndrome Awareness Month, visit our new Web site at www.ndss.org.

About NDSS
The National Down Syndrome Society is a nonprofit organization with more than 200 affiliates nationwide representing the more than 350,000 Americans who have this genetic condition. NDSS is committed to being the national leader in supporting and enhancing the quality of life, and realizing the potential of all people with Down syndrome. We demonstrate this commitment through our education, research and advocacy initiatives that benefit people with Down syndrome and their families. To learn more about NDSS, visit www.ndss.org or call (800) 221-4602.

Contact:

Sarah Schleider

212-763-4369

communications@ndss.org

Special Time

As one of Turk's recent posts mentioned, we took a trip to WI to find a house. We left Alex and Andrew with my mom for the week and took Abbey with us. We wanted to take some time to visit schools and we thought that having Abbey with us would be a good idea (there is alot of work that goes into finding the right school for your kids and when you have a child with special needs there's added concern). I have to admit that even though I knew bringing Abbey was the right thing to do (especially for my mom's sake) I was not looking forward to it. She is quite a handful and house hunting in two or three days is not fun for adults, let alone kids. And having Abbey in other people's houses is work keeping her from touching EVERYTHING. So needless to say I worked at preparing myself for the trip. I guess my prayers for patience paid off because, while it had it's challenges, my time with Abbey was fruitful. I got the opportunity to really enjoy her and learn things about her that I might not have seen in the busyness of everyday life at home. And even though she can't say the words, I know she enjoyed spending the time with just mom & dad.

Saturday, September 29, 2007

Move Update

It has been almost a week since we have been back from our house hunting trip and things have not slowed down. We did find a house and on our way home from the airport the Realtor left a message saying the owners had excepted our offer. That was a great relief. We are excited about our new house. It is has more room than our current house but not a big yard like we were wanting but we sacrificed that for what we are hoping is a better school district for Abbey. We spent the first day of our trip visiting schools and meeting with administrators trying to figure who will give Abbey the best services. In the end we decided on the Menominee School district which is in Michigan. Abbey had a good time on our little vacation, especially our trips to the Culver's, which has great ice cream. In fact every time we would be in the hotel and we would tell Abbey to get her shoes on because it was time to go she would run and get her shoes and do the sign for ice cream. It was quite funny!

While we were on our trip we met with Kim's boss for lunch. They talked a little shop and she is excited about her new job and the new challenges ahead of her.

Since our return home we have been getting things in order. I could give a long, long, list of things but I might run out of room so I will just say it is a long list. Our biggest concern is getting all the paperwork needed for Abbey (including an updated hearing test)so we can hit the ground running when we arrive in Michigan. We also hope to have new ear molds made and an appointment with the ENT. Hopefully having all of this done will make the transition easier not only for her but also for us.

As a parent you are always learning something new. The other day I was telling Abbey's new audiologist a little about her and we were discussing who was responsible for covering the insurance on the hearing aids. She said we were responsible for the coverage and that we should look into having it covered on our home owners policy. This was new to me and as it turns out is better than what we were doing.

Monday, September 17, 2007

Light Postings

I haven't posted much lately because my mother has been visiting for the last several days and I have been trying to get some things done around the house while we have extra hands, as well as try and spend some time with her. By the end of the month we hope to have a contract on a new home and have our current house on the market.

The kids are doing great. Abbey is adjusting to her new school and they have some really great things to say about her. They have a little notebook they send home everyday telling us how things are going. They don't write in it every day but almost every day.
Last week they told us that every day each kid gets to choose a job and last Friday Abbey chose the help with the garbage (which seems to be a favorite among the kids). The teacher said she did a great job. She went out into the hallway and got the garbage can (which is on wheels)and pushed it inside all by herself. She then took the lid off and sat it down in the correct place, apparently early in the week she through it across the room, and then went back to her seat and waited for her turn. The teacher said she did it all by herself. What impressed the teacher the most was that she remembered exactly how to do it. The teacher also wrote in her book saying,
Abbey was teaching me the sign for bird yesterday. She put my hands together to show me how- too cute. She also said "your turn" out on the playground to one of her friends.
This doesn't surprise me becasue she is very good at taking turns. She is verbalizing more and trying to say certain words. If you are around her enough you can pick-up on a few of them.

Thursday, September 13, 2007

Having a little brother around

I thought I would share how the older two are handling having a new brother around.


Abbey has been so excited about the baby. She wants to hold him so badly. She holds her arms out for him often. She gives kisses and nicely touches Andrew's legs and feet. She has been much more gentle (without us having to constantly remind her) than we expected. I attribute this to school. When her teachers found out I was pregnant they started working with Abbey on holding a baby doll and being gentle. Until this point she had no interest in baby dolls. In the last 6 months she holds and rocks them, brushes their hair, and we've even caught her putting them in time out. What has impressed us is how she was able to transfer those gentle actions from the baby doll to the real baby. She just loves the newest little one.


Alex, I think, might be struggling a little. He has definite interest in Andrew. He wants to kiss and touch Andrew and this morning the baby's hand touched Alex's face...he thought that was neat and wanted to keep doing that over and over. But I do think Alex knows this new little person is taking Mommy and Daddy's attention away. He does seem to be acting out quite a bit more than he was before. The question is...is this just him being a typical two year old or is it the newest addition. It's probably a little bit of both. This combination creates a crazy house these days but I know things will settle down....eventually.

All in all things are going well. Andrew has an awake day then a sleepy day. The nights are still a bit rough but we know that in a few more weeks he'll find a good routine for all of us.

Wednesday, September 12, 2007

Holy Cards


Leticia at Dr. Jerome Lejeune Society received a letter along with Holy Cards from Dr. Lejeune's daughter, Anouk Lejeune Meyer. She wrote, "I hope these images are going to help some parents who want to ask "graces" through my father to God. I pray for you and your beautiful work".

Read the reast at here.

Tuesday, September 11, 2007

The little things....

One of the great things about having kids are the little things in life they teach us and this is something Abbey does often. I always find it fascinating how funny these little things are, like pulling up chair and resting her elbow on the table because that is what mommy and daddy are doing or getting a book and instead of bring it to you to read it to her, she opens it up and points to the pictures as if she is imitating her teacher at school. Or perhaps when she get Dora and straps her in the chair at the table or puts her in time-out for doing who knows what. I could go on and on but the best is when you are walking in the mall holding hands and she kisses your hand and looks up at you as if to say thank you for being my dad and I love you. These are the important things in life our kids teach us. They could care less about how much money we have in the bank, what car we drive, or if we have the most fashionable clothes. All they want is to be with us and for us to love them.

"Unless you turn and become like little children, you will not enter into the kingdom of heaven" (Matt. 1 8: 3).

Monday, September 10, 2007

Stand Tall

I recently was given Patricia Baur's website. She is a journalist who focuses on the convergence of science, medicine, ethics, public policy, disability and the media. Bauer and her husband are among the founders of the Pathway Program at UCLA, a post-secondary program for young adults with intellectual disabilities. They are the parents of two young adults, one of whom has Down syndrome and is a survivor of leukemia.

(READ MORE)

On August 5th of this year she gave the keynote speech at the 35th annual convention of the National Down Syndrome Congress in Kansas City, Missouri about routine prenatal screening. It is worth reading.
I’m sure I’m not alone in saying that for the first few years of Margaret’s life we worked very, very hard to do everything we could to help Margaret become “normal.” It was only later that we realized what most families get to eventually: that “normal” wasn’t the point. Our real goal was to help Margaret be Margaret. It was only by letting go of the concept of normal that we were able to see our daughter as the delightful person that she truly is, not obscured by some burdensome word, some arbitrary social ideal that had nothing to do with any of us.

Like it or not, though, we have to admit that we as a nation have been sold this concept of “normal,” and we’ve fallen for it. Somehow, while the disability community was out of the room, the world of medicine established a diagnosable standard called “normal” and now we’re all trying as hard as we can to achieve it
Read it here.

Friday, September 7, 2007

What is Down Syndrome?

I had something interesting happen to me yesterday. I had to see the doctor so I thought I would give Kim a little break and take Alex with me. We had a longer wait than usual because the doctor had to go to the Hospital for a brief emergency. While we were in the lobby waiting Alex was entertaining the other two ladies in the room with his charm. He was telling them about his new baby brother and sister Abbey and through the conversation I mentioned that Abbey had Down syndrome. One of the ladies, I would guess she was in her late 70's early 80's asked me what Down Syndrome was. I must say it took me by surprise. I have had kids want to know more why Abbey is the way she is but never a grown-up ask what is Down syndrome. I explained by giving her the medical answer but finished it with a brief answer of her being delayed in certain areas like speech, walking, and other cognitive skills. Then she asked if it was something Abbey would grow out of? Of course, I answered no.

It's obvious this lady has never been around someone with Down syndrome and given her age I guess I shouldn't be surprised by her questions. I think it would be safe to say that when she was growing up kids with Down syndrome were placed in institutions and were very rarely seen by the outside world. Over time this has changed and great strides have been made to bring about the awareness of Down syndrome. Much much more needs to be done. What scares me is that the American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists (ACOG) is pushing women to have an amniocentesis done in order to detect defects in an unborn child. Why is this such a big deal? Because 90% of women who find out they are having a child with Down syndrome abort their baby. If this continues, people of this generation will one day be asking the same question this lady asked, what is Down syndrome?

I was recently asked to join a group called The Dr.Jerome Lejeune Society. Please take the time and read our mission and goals! You can also read more here.

I also would suggest reading this article at causa nostrae laetitiae

That's what I'm talking about...

The last several days have been good for Andrew. He is starting to eat more during the day and less at night, giving us more time to sleep. He eats about every 3 hours during the day and ever 4-5 hours at night. He had his 2 week check-up yesterday and has returned to his birth weight. He returns to the doctor in 8 weeks to get his first set of shots. That should be fun!

Abbey is finishing her first week of school today. Everything is going well and she hasn't been sent to the Principal's office yet. We have been really pleased with the communication the Head Start program has had with us. They have a very structured routine, which all kids need. Abbey seems to thrive best in a structured environment. She has always enjoyed school or any of the daycare programs she has attended and she is always in a much better mood in the afternoons. I'm not sure what that says about us but if she likes it, we like it:)
Abbey's first day on the bus and she loves it. Every morning we have her and her brother watching for the bus. Sometimes I think Alex is more excited about the bus than she is.

Wednesday, September 5, 2007

What others arer saying....


The other week I briefly commented on an article written by Time Magazine on Blessed Mother Teresa. I think it might be important to read what others are saying about article and her. Most of them, if not all, are writen becasue of the recent article.

Fr. Cantalamessa on Bl. Mother Teresa
National Catholic Register
More on Mother Teresa
Mother Teresa Persevered Through Doubt

Blessed Mother Teresa
pray for us

Trying to understand Down Syndrome

Others often find it difficult to come out and ask what it is like to have a child with Down syndrome but you get the indications that others want to know what it is like by the questions they ask. It is something difficult to explain, especially when your child is young. Every parent has a different experience but there always seems to be some common struggles paretns go through, which is why finding other parents who have a child with Down syndrome is so important. Emily Perl Kingsley best describes it like this...
When you're going to have a baby, it's like planning a fabulous vacation trip - to Italy. You buy a bunch of guide books and make your wonderful plans. The Coliseum. The Michelangelo David. The gondolas in Venice. You may learn some handy phrases in Italian. It's all very exciting.

After months of eager anticipation, the day finally arrives. You pack your bags and off you go. Several hours later, the plane lands. The stewardess comes in and says, "Welcome to Holland."

"Holland?!?" you say. "What do you mean Holland?? I signed up for Italy! I'm supposed to be in Italy. All my life I've dreamed of going to Italy."

But there's been a change in the flight plan. They've landed in Holland and there you must stay.

The important thing is that they haven't taken you to a horrible, disgusting, filthy place, full of pestilence, famine and disease. It's just a different place.

So you must go out and buy new guide books. And you must learn a whole new language. And you will meet a whole new group of people you would never have met.

It's just a different place. It's slower-paced than Italy, less flashy than Italy. But after you've been there for a while and you catch your breath, you look around.... and you begin to notice that Holland has windmills....and Holland has tulips. Holland even has Rembrandts.

But everyone you know is busy coming and going from Italy... and they're all bragging about what a wonderful time they had there. And for the rest of your life, you will say "Yes, that's where I was supposed to go. That's what I had planned."

And the pain of that will never, ever, ever, ever go away... because the loss of that dream is a very very significant loss.

But... if you spend your life mourning the fact that you didn't get to Italy, you may never be free to enjoy the very special, the very lovely things ... about Holland.
This story, Welcome to Holland, is very popular but every time I read it I am reminded what it is like, even though I experience it every day.
I also enjoy reading this poem periodically The Creed with Babies with Down Syndrome
My face might be different
But my feelings the same
I laugh and I cry
And I take pride in my gains
I was sent here among you
To teach you to love
As God in the heavens
Looks down from above
To him I'm no different
His love knows no bounds
It's those here among you
In cities and towns
That judge me by standards
That man has imparted
But this family I've chosen
Will help me get started
For I'm one of the children
So special and few
That came here to learn
The same lessons as you
That love is acceptance
It must come from the heart
We all have the same purpose
Though not the same start
The Lord gave me life
To live and embrace
And I'll do as you do
But at my own pace.

Tuesday, September 4, 2007

Priorities

I figured it was probably time for me to chime in and share my experiences too. Turk (Steve) has done a nice job of keeping you informed of the goings on and I'll let him continue to do that but I'll put my two cents in every now and then. The first thing I wanted to share is how quickly one's priorities can change.

First point to share is that we knew from the beginning of the pregnancy that we were going to need to schedule an induction for this one. There were many factors that justified that in our minds...a 45 minute ride to the hospital (and a history of short labors & deliveries), two other kids (one with special needs) and no family close enough to get here in a moments notice to care for them.

Second point to share and forgive me for a moment while I bore you with work stuff but things were crazy busy for me. As a company, we are preparing a major transition to outsourcing Human Resources work. This requires a lot of prep work for those of us "in the field". There were two major projects that I was planning on completing before going out on maternity leave. A few weeks ago I was so uncomfortable being pregnant and really wanted to put an end to that by having the baby, at the same time I was sort of relieved that the Doctor scheduled the induction for Aug 30th. That felt like it was way out there but that at least gave me the opportunity to finish my projects and a bunch of other work stuff.

Well, Andrew had a different plan in mind. He wanted Mommy and Daddy to experience something different. So on Aug 26th he decided to start making the journey. The water breaking and having labor pains at home was not something we had experienced with the other two. Then when he was born on Aug 27th that work stuff wasn't so important anymore. Instead, we were holding this little (well...not so little) human being that was God's creation and was brought into our lives to teach us many things. The first of which came right away.

God is good.

Monday, September 3, 2007

Finding a schedule

Things have settled down a little at the house and we are trying to find a good schedule for Andrew. It is hard to find a schedule because he sleeps so much but we know how important a schedule is so we are trying to find one for him. At this point, he is eating every 3-4 hours and is sleeping between his feeding every other night. The nights he doesn't sleep during his feeds he isn't bad but we don't get much sleep. Kim and I take turns with him downstairs, letting the person upstairs get a good 4 hours of rest. (Thank God the other two sleep well at night) This has worked for us in the past so we are doing it again. Andrew is still a little gassy. We have been giving him mylicon at his feedings but we're not sure this has helped. In all, things are good and we return to the doctor this week.
Kim's family came for a visit this weekend and it was nice to see everyone. Some people don't like to have alot of people around when they first came home but we don't mind. It is too early to have Andrew on a consistent schedule so having others around gives us a little break from things. More importantly it is fun to share the life of our new baby with others.
I am working on a post about Abbey's PPT meeting but haven't quite finished it. I hope the post will give some insight to what we and other parents experience during these meetings.

Have a good Labor day!

St. Andrew
Pray for us

Friday, August 31, 2007

Off to the Doctor

When we were discharged from the hospital the doctor told us he wanted to see him in two days so we made an appointment to see him today. Everything was good but he took a blood sample to check his bilirubin. He thought he looked fine but wanted to double check. The doctor called just an hour ago and said his level was fine. We did mention to the doctor that Andrew seemed to have some gas and so he suggested we change his formula to Enfamil Gentlease which is for babies with fussiness and gas. We have another appointment next week.

Thursday, August 30, 2007

Home at last


Andrew spent most of his final day in the hospital in our room. I have forgotten how much babies sleep. The pediatrician final came in after lunch to discharge him. Shortly after that we gathered our stuff and headed home. We were greeted by a nice big balloon welcoming us home. Abbey was much more excited to see Andrew than Alex was. He'll appreciate him more once he can start playing catch.

The first night was good. He is eating about every 4 hours. I don't think I gave him enough to eat at his 12am feeding because he was a little restless for awhile so Kim increased his next feeding and he seemed much more content after he ate.

Wednesday, August 29, 2007

Day two and final day at the Hospital


Day two at the Hospital was a good one. Abbey and Alex came by for a visit to see their little brother for the first time. Abbey was really interested in Andrew, wanting to touch, hug and even was trying to help burp him. She is always very helpful but sometimes (like trying to burp him) she is a little too helpful. Alex was less interested not giving him much attention. I think that will change once we get him. He probably thought he was just visiting, not realizing Andrew will be coming home today.
If things go as planned Kim and the baby should be discharged sometime this morning. Thanks to Kim's mom, who is watching Abbey and Alex, we have gotten a little peace and quiet. That is about to change but we take what we can get.

Tuesday, August 28, 2007

A Little Side Note


Yesterday was the memorial of St. Monica, who was the mother of St. Augustine and the patron saint of mothers. What a wonderful day to bring a new baby into the world. This was the first reading for the day.
Happy is the husband of a good wife;
the number of his days will be doubled.
A loyal wife rejoices her husband,
and he will complete his years in peace.
A good wife is a great blessing;
she will be granted among the blessings of the man who fears the Lord.
Whether rich or poor, his heart is glad,
and at all times his face is cheerful.

A wife's charm delights her husband,
and her skill puts fat on his bones.
A silent wife is a gift of the Lord,
and there is nothing so precious as a disciplined soul.
A modest wife adds charm to charm,
and no balance can weigh the value of a chaste soul.
Like the sun rising in the heights of the Lord,
so is the beauty of a good wife in her well-ordered home.
(Sirach 26:1-4, 13-16)

I am blessed to have a beautiful wife and a wonderful mother to my kids.

St. Monica
*Pray for us

The First Day

Andrew's first day in the world was a good one. The doctor came by to see us yesterday evening. He said everything looked fine. You cannot tell from the pictures but Andrew's face is very red and sometimes even looks purple. The doctor explained to us that he was "ruddy" and that most newborns normally have a concentration of red blood cells in the blood that is quite high as compared to older children and adults. And this phenomenon usually causes no problems because over the course of the first 4-6 days, these "extra" red blood cells break down and are metabolized leaving the infant with a lower concentration. In the end, he was not concerned.
Mom is doing well. Just before I left to come home she was still a little out of it from the pain medicine. I think one pill would have been enough but they gave her two. It was actually funny watching her, she was in her own little world. It was a great day and I did take some more pictures yesterday evening and hope to take more pictures today and post them on the side bar.

Pray for us, holy Mother of God
* That we may become worthy of the promises of Christ

St. Andrew
*Pray for us

St. Michael
*Pray for us

Monday, August 27, 2007

A Few Days Early


Kim was scheduled to be induced this Thursday but things came a little early. We arrived at the Hospital this morning around 6am and Andrew Michael was delivered into this world around 10:30am. Everyone is fine including myself. No one really ever asks how I am doing. Being the coach is the hardest job:) I hope to have more pictures in the future. They will be published on the sidebar.

Saturday, August 25, 2007

A little reading

Kids are in bed and I just finished a bowl of ice cream, peace at last. After that, I began reading several blogs and came across a good reflection over at cause of our joy on an article written by Barbara Curtis.

I think most parents, at some point, limit their kids independence because they are in such a hurry, I know this is the case with me. It seems to be even more difficult to take the time and let Abbey do things herself because she is much slower and clumsey at doing things. It usually results in a bigger mess than before. I have learned to give her her shoes way before it is time to leave with the hope she can get them on before we leave. She doesn't always accomplish the task but she tries. I think we have done a much better job at letting Alex do things himself because it alawys us more time to help Abbey.

Feeding is a good example. From early on we have let Alex feed himself and at this point he is pretty self seficiant but Abbey still needs help. She can use a fork and spoon with some foods but if you give her all of her food and she stuffs her mouth full. Also, becasue she has low muscle tone she doesn't swallow all of her food and it stays in the back of her mouth so check her mouth before giving her more food. We have had to give her the heimlich maneuver several times.

Friday, August 24, 2007

Bl. Mother Teresa's "dark night"


Many mystics have experienced, as St. John of the Cross wrote about, a "dark night" of the soul which is described as a characteristic stage in their growth. This "dark night" is a time in which many of them experienced an abandonment from God. This can also be what Christ experienced when he cried out, "My God, My God, why hast thou forsaken me?"

In a recent article by Time magazine, Mother Teresa revealed she experienced this phenomenon since the early 60's and lasted until her death.

Read the Article

A beautiful day in the neighborhood....

Several kids from the neighborhood are coming over this morning to play . I think I will get out the Inflatable Bouncer so the kids can jump around. It's a great way to keep the kids contained in one area. I hope to have pictures to post later on.

I had my stints removed yesterday from my sinus surgery. It was painless but a little disgusting. I cannot believe that big of a thing fit up my nose. After he removed them it defientely made a big difference in the amount of air flow. I return in a couple of weeks for some cleanup but everything looked good.

One of the nice things CT does each year is have a tax free week on all clothes (under $300). It usually occurs the week before school starts so Abbey and I went shopping the other day. Not only was it fun for her to try on clothes but we saved a good amount. I was proud of myself I stayed within the budget. She should be all set for her first day of school. I hope to take Alex this weekend but he isn't as excited about new clothes, or shopping.

Thursday, August 23, 2007

Take Two

This is the first post on our new blog. If you are wondering why we are doing this blog you can read why over in the right column.

I'm headed back to the ENT today to get the stints removed from my sinus surgery. While they were cleaning our my sinuses they fixed my deviated septum, which was 90% closed on my left side. So yes, I had a nose job. My nose might be a little fuller, but you really can't tell a difference.

Kim went to the doctor the other day and not much has changed, the plan is still to have her induced on Aug. 30th.

The kids are great. Abbey finished her summer school program last Thursday and starts school on Sept. 4th. We have two meetings with her school next week to finalize her IEP (Individualized Education Plan). Alex is excited about his new baby brother coming and talks to him every night before bedtime. We will see what he thinks when he has to share mommy time with him.

The move to WI is moving slowly. We have decided to replace the carpet in our current house so we will have it installed in a couple of weeks. Our house goes on the market Sept. 1st. The first of Oct. we plan to take a trip to WI to buy a house and then hopefully move by the end of Oct. because Kim starts her job the first Monday in November. We are excited about the move but as you can see we have lots to get done before that. Keep us in your prayers.