Saturday, October 31, 2009

Happy Halloween...

The kids had a fabulous time carving pumpkins and trick or treating today.
Alayna didn't care for her bumble bee costume anymore today than she did the other day when we dressed up for baby class, but she didn't complain about it either...just no smiles for the pictures.
Rayne was tired after about an hour and Alayna was getting a little cold so I took the girls home but, Alayna was feverishly doing the "more" sign to show me that she really didn't want to go in yet.
My English guy (who loves Halloween more than any of us) took Grace & Aidan out for another round. Needless to say we have enough candy to start our own store.
We hope you had a wonderful day as well
Tomorrow our church is doing Missio Dei-Serve in the City Event, an awesome service day to celebrate All Saints Day.
We are going to volunteer with our small group at an inner city church, doing some painting, planting, cleaning etc.
Say a prayer for all those who have died this year.

Thursday, October 29, 2009

Up and about

Alayna is definitely a girl on the move. She has now decided that it is pretty fun to pull herself up on things...the bathtub, the dishwasher, toys, Aidan (especially when he is reading that gets his attention), you name it she has probably tried to pull up on it

She had no interest in this leap table until she could pull herself up on it now she wants to play with it all the time

She also realized today that she is able to catch up to the dogs. She had a fun time petting the dogs, pulling their tails and getting in a few good kisses. Neither of them seemed to be bothered by her which was a good thing otherwise we would be a dogless family

Saturday, October 24, 2009

That wasn't a walk that was a PARTY!!!!

Alayna had the time of her life today at the Step Up for Down Syndrome and we did as well. God gave us a beautifully, sunny, warm day to celebrate Alayna & LC and all our friends who are chromosomally enhanced!

We had Boom Boom Cannon Ball popcorn balls,tutu wearing water bottles, and great signage thanks to our talented friend LC and her crafty mom & dad. (THANKS guys!)

We are so thankful to all the wonderful people who came out to celebrate with us (and to those who donated but couldn't make the walk). We are thankful to have raised $4475 and had over 90 registered walkers (although sickness and other emergencies kept some of those people at home today... thank you for thinking of the girls and keeping them both healthy!)

Alayna enjoyed all the festivities, the crowds, the excitement and the walk. Aidan loved leading the team and holding the team sign, all the bounce houses, games, friends, food and rides!

I enjoyed getting to visit with all our friends, those on our team and those who we have met in the past year though the DSG, and meeting all the family on LC's side that we always hear about but hadn't met yet. Grandma Janet and Grandpa Fred and Nana Cam just to name a few! As I call the girls twins all the time we welcome LC's family into our extended family!
A special BIG thanks to our very own Big Sarah for making Alayna & LC even cuter in their matching tutu outfits. Oh they were the cutest little girls at Arrowhead stadium! Even Channel 5 news stopped them to get an interview! (Aidan was SO excited that we would be on TV

What a celebration and what a great day!

Daddy's little girls...

Oh wait, there is more, Happy Birthday girlies we love you both so very much!!!

After that super de duper party I am one tired Tutu wearing girlie!

Thanks everybody for making it such a great day! Don't forget next October same party, same place! The Boom Boom Cannon Ball team will be back!!!

Thursday, October 22, 2009

Excitement is in the air...

You can feel the excitement in the air at our house this week. On Saturday, we will be Stepping Up for Down Syndrome. We have over 90 members on our team and over 100 supporters who have donated nearly $4,500 in honor of Alayna & LC (YAHOO for our awesome supporters)!

Be sure to check back in on our blog this weekend as you won't want to miss the pics of the girls in their tutus. Please pray for great weather as it is rainy and cool here today.

Our best buddies from Little Rock, the Russells are coming in to join us in fact, one is already here. Shan arrived this morning and was quickly greeted by an over excited 6 year old boy and a shy 1 year old girl. The rest of the family is coming in tomorrow for the weekend and we couldn't be more excited for them to meet Alayna & LC.

Alayna was so excited about the walk she decided that she should excel at PT today to warm up for the Saturday festivities. She showed Ms. Erin her stuff...Alayna amazed her with army crawling, getting up on all 4's, getting into and out of standing and kneeling.

For Alayna, this week something just clicked and she is a girl on a mission to get where she wants to go in forward (as she has been a master of backwards for months now). She now is really motivated to pull up and find toys etc.

Here is a video of her last weekend when daddy moved her favorite toy across the room...sorry it is a little dark.

Monday, October 19, 2009

Fall fun

Aidan decided since it was a beautiful Sunday afternoon it was time for his baby sister to experience the crunching of the fall leaves.
He got the rake out and made a big pile for them to play in...Alayna LOVED them.
We took her socks and shoes off and held her over the leaves she kicked her legs and enjoyed making the leaves rustle with her feet. (She is kicking her legs in excitement all the time now which is really cute!) She loved sitting in the leaves, especially with Aidan. She didn't even put them in her mouth!
Also, this weekend Alayna finally put her motor in forward instead of reverse. She has been working on inching forward for a long time and could do little spurts at a time but usually was motoring backwards, now she is in full drive forward going across the room in seconds.
Jason is on vacation this week and today he & Aidan are off to the Red Barn Farm for the 1st grade field trip. It is supposed to be nearly 70 today so they should have some great pictures to post later.

Saturday, October 17, 2009

The end of the season

Aidan played his last soccer match this morning and was very sad to see his season end. He went out with a bang...4 goals. Jason was bursting with pride for his little soccer player. Aidan has really come a long way in just a few short months and has some really good natural ability (I guess that is the English in him!) He enjoyed this Upward soccer so much that he wants to sign up for their basketball program that starts in January. Of course, we are excited where else can you learn a sport, make new friends and learn about Jesus?

Jason & Aidan also picked up our Boom Boom Cannon Ball tshirts for the Step Up for Down Syndrome next Saturday. We can hardly wait for the big party! We will take lots of pictures for those of you who won't be able to join us for the day and if you decide at the last minute you can join us come on down to Arrowhead.

Saturday, October 10, 2009

How I spent my 1st birthday

WOWIE! Friday was one exciting day and all because it was MY birthday! YIPPEE...let's hear it for cards, presents, cake, balloons, family and great friends!

I started out the day by dropping mommy's truck at the shop for new tires and an oil change. Yeah! Let's hear it for daddy keeping us safe... I was so excited when I heard daddy's voice in the car when we picked him up at the shop I started to squeal then mommy let me know that he took the day off to celebrate my special day. We were off to the doctor which was really fun until that sweet nurse, Lisa poked me with 3 shots. I didn't cry with the jabs just when the final medicine went in. But, in a matter of minutes I was back to my happy go lucky self.
Then we went and had my feet painted and put on a plate at the pottery place. Have to commemorate the day like they did Aidan's with a plate, but, my feet are way cuter than his BIG feet.

Next, we came home for a quick nap and lunch. After lunch I had a great surprise, my best buddy LC came for a visit (please go over and wish her a special 1st birthday today). When daddy opened the door another present fell in the house (thanks to those sneaky Bartelts who had dropped off an awesome book for me.)
LC and I spent a little time reminiscing about our first year then decided to open our special gift from Big Sarah. Oh she outdid herself this time adorable matching t shirts that say BoomBoom Cannonball babe for us to wear at the Step up for Down Syndrome in a few weeks with our names embroidered on the bum! Also, a matching TUTU! Oh boy will we be the cutest ones at the big party or what?

I had a little afternoon nap then it was on to the big celebration. I wasn't sure why everyone was at our house but, I quickly learned that all the fuss was for ME! Aidan helped me open my cards and presents (he is a great big brother) but, after a couple I didn't really need his help I kinda like ripping that paper Oh I got fun toys, cute clothes, books, even a book with a tutu wearing pig (I giggled out loud when I opened this one as her tutu matched mine!), and new shoes!!

After all the presents I got back in my highchair but, we had already eaten dinner. Oh to my surprise everyone started singing and they brought me a big, sprinkle cake (Aidan & daddy's favorite...soon to be mine too). Aidan helped me blow out the candle and make a wish but, he did NOT have to help me eat it. MMM I love birthday cake!
I dove right in and ate the whole piece without any help!This birthday thing is alright!

Special thanks to everyone who made my day more special with emails, cards, presents, visits and love!

Friday, October 9, 2009

Happy 1st Birthday Alayna!

Happy Birthday Alayna Faith, we love you dearly!

I thought I would share her birth story with you to remember the special day that she entered our lives.

I had a wonderful pregnancy. At 15 weeks I did the prenatal testing and the results gave us a 1 in 10 chance of having a baby with down syndrome.

As I had had 2 miscarriages between Aidan and Alayna I opted for no amnio, we wouldn't terminate even if the test was positive for ds I just wanted to know so we could best prepare ourselves if there were any special needs.

We had a level 2 ultrasound and the doctor told us that Alayna had none of the 18 soft markers for ds. We were relieved,thankful and excited to hear we were having a little girl.

At 34 weeks, I was measuring a little small so they sent me back to the perinatologist and began biweekly tests to monitor her size and heart rate.

We had another level 2 ultrasound and at this time the doctor said her arms were a bit shorter than average, she explained this away with Jason and I weren't large people.

She believed Alayna did not have ds, that she was just a little over 4 1/2 pounds and due to placental issues she wasn't growing as well as they would like.
At that moment I felt in my heart that Alayna did indeed have down syndrome, I left the doctors office in tears.
On our way home we saw a license plate that said, "Have Faith". Jason pointed this out to me and from that moment forward I was at peace with everything, special needs or not I just wanted a healthy baby.

I was put on 4 hours of bed rest a day...really with a 5 year old how do you do that? I spent each afternoon that Aidan was gone to kindergarten lying on my left side. If you know me you know I don't sit still for long, let alone lie around when I have things to do.
However, this was an awesome time for me to have one on one, uninterrupted time with God for him to prepare me for Alayna's arrival. In retrospect, these few weeks assured me that Alayna would be healthy and prepared me to celebrate her birth.

On Thursday, October 9, 2008 (37 weeks 1 day) I went into the OB for my morning monitoring the doctor saw a drop in Alayna's heart rate and sent me to the hospital just as a precaution for more monitoring.

After the whole afternoon at the hospital they declared us healthy and fed me a great salad lunch and sent me on my way.

I arrived home about the time Aidan was getting home from school. We did his homework and started making dinner. Jason arrived a few minutes later. A few minutes after 5 the phone rang and it was the nurse from my OB's office. She said DON'T eat dinner and you need to be back to the hospital by 7 for a 9pm c section as they had re looked at Alayna's chart from the monitoring and her heart rate had dipped again late in the afternoon.
NO, NO, NO I am having a VBAC not a c section are you sure? I wanted to speak with my doctor. The doctor herself called me a few minutes later and assured me that Alayna was ok but, that they were concerned with her stress level and wanted to get her out.

WHAT???? We were in shock mode. Thankfully my parents were still in town so we called my mom and she headed straight over to stay with Aidan. I went to pack my bag and Jason headed to the basement to unbox the car seat and install it in the car. Did I mention that we weren't ready to have a baby this day? I had thankfully talked Jason into buying a pack of diapers and wipes the weekend before just in case.

We headed to the hospital and were immediately moved into a room and prepped for surgery. At little after 8:00pm they began surgery, everything went smoothly. Alayna arrived screaming at 8:16pm and weighed in at a hefty 4 pounds 14 oz and was 16 1/2 inches long.

The doctor told me "She is beautiful". I could see Alayna as the nurse practitioner examined her and I knew immediately that she did have ds.

Jason was standing next to the warmer and the nurse asked if he knew anything about down syndrome as she began explaining the signs that Alayna seemed to have down syndrome. Jason had that deer in the headlights look, he said "No I don't know anything about down syndrome". He immediately turned off and I could tell he was hearing nothing of what was being said.

From the operating table I interrupted the nurse and told her to come over to me and tell me the information. She did and I was thankful. Her information confirmed what God had shared with me and instead of being sad I celebrated this new little blessing and even though she was tiny she was healthy.

On Saturday morning, the on call OB came in to check on me and shared that she had delivered another baby girl with ds the evening before (we learned a little later that it was our wonderful buddy LC).
Jason and I set out on a mission to find that little girl and her parents (with a little help from the staff). We were pleasantly surprised to learn that Courtney & Justin were adopting LC and they knew prenatally that she had ds and a heart condition.
Jason was amazed, it was one of the turning points in his acceptance of Alayna's diagnosis. We thank God for planting these friends in our path to make our walk through life easier.

Alayna spent 17 days in the NICU due to low body temperature, she needed a little oxygen for a couple days and she had a great sucking reflex and latched on to nursing immediately she just would tire out too soon and not get enough food. She was on an NG tube for 2 weeks. Then all of a sudden she was strong enough and big enough that she didn't need that tube anymore. We brought her home on October 26, 2009 healthy, tube free and beautiful it was the second happiest day of her life!

Alayna is now 1 year old! Today at the doctor she weighed in at 17 pounds 6 oz.(55%) and is 27 inches long (40%).

It has been an incredible year filled with many blessings. We thank God for the blessing of Aidan and Alayna, and for you supporting our family, loving our Alayna and praying for us on a regular basis. You are a blessing to us too!

Here is the purple butterfly outfit Alayna wore at 3 weeks old to show how much she has grown.

Tonight she will get to enjoy cake and ice cream with the family!

Pictures soon to follow.

Wednesday, October 7, 2009

O happy day!

Today was picture day at Alayna's school so Grandma & Pop Pop gave her one of her birthday presents a little early so she had a new dress to wear...

Then our 2nd favorite UPS man, Joe (daddy being our 1st, of course but he doesn't deliver in our neighborhood that is where Joe comes in) delivered a BIG box with Alayna's name on it. We quickly opened the box and found LOTS of other boxes inside...

Aidan was quick to spy a box with his name on it and a loving note from his "big" Sarah. (Big Sarah is Aidan's pet name for my best friend from Little Rock, Sarah Russell. He named her that when he was 15 months old because our neighbors have a daughter also named Sarah Jane so to differentiate the two it was Big Sarah and Baby Sarah and it has always stuck) . His present was a Crayola story writer and BOY was he super excited. He didn't even want to do his homework because he wanted to start writing and recording stories. (As you can see Sarah spoils my children rotten...who gets gifts on their sister's birthday?)

Then it was on to the other boxes...

The next one was wrapped all pretty with a card for Alayna Aidan took it upon himself to start unwrapping but, Alayna quickly let him know that she was the birthday girl and she could rip packages open too!

We opened the box and it made our day a little happier, here is what we saw...

A onesie decorated with a cupcake with Alayna's name on it, a party hat, a cupcake bag AND a multicolored TUTU! Oh Joy!!! Alayna thought it was delicious!!!

But wait there is more...when we got to the bottom of the box we saw 2 more packages and a note to open them together! Yippee another present for Alayna & LC! The girls will open them together on Friday. THANKS BIG SARAH, we love you!!!

Monday, October 5, 2009

It's fall.

The days here are beautiful but, the mornings are definitely fall and chilly. It was a great weekend here at our house.

Aidan & Grace's team played again on Saturday morning and won 4-0. They both have learned so much about soccer and are playing really well. It is fun to watch them improve each week and play as a team. They have 2 more weekends to play, hopefully it won't be too cold.

Everyone was happy to snuggle with Alayna to keep warm...

Daddy and Alayna keep warm then Aunt Elise gets in a few warm baby snuggles before the game is over.

Aidan's best friend, Avery had an overnight birthday party on Saturday night which was super fun (but, super tiring after church yesterday the circles under Aidan's eyes told the whole story). They went to T Rex to eat and play and then bowling and I think they slept a little?

Jason and I took the opportunity to have Grandma & Pop Pop babysit Alayna so we could have a date night. Thanks Grandma & Pop Pop

Thursday, October 1, 2009

Pig tail envy

You have seen them loads of times but still every time they make you smile. Of course, I am talking about LC's pigtails!

Alayna's hair has been sprouting very rapidly this past month (must be miracle grow in that baby shampoo) so Jason decided it was time to try some pigtails on Alayna. I normally throw a barrette to keep her bangs out of her eyes and call it good. I figured I better consult the expert so I hit Courtney up for where she gets the teeny tiny ponytail holders. So armed with this information Jason and Aidan took it upon themselves to go get some the other day.

After 3 phone calls to me to describe what they were looking for and a little help from a store clerk...they came home with a plethora of teeny tiny girlie colored rubber bands (450 to be exact!)

Both boys were eagerly anticipating ME trying to put Alayna's hair up. Now if you know me at all you know I am NOT girlie girl, never have been and never will be. Doing my own hair each day...well let's just say is a joy! I tried to talk them into doing her hair but, they stood on the sidelines and shouted cheers (too bad we didn't have pom poms to go with it otherwise I am sure they would have been waving them too).

I wrangled Alayna onto my lap and couldn't get her hair into ANY kind of ponytail or pigtail. We finally settled on one big ponytail on top of her head. Trust me it wasn't pretty and I DIDN'T take pictures (I am not sure which one of us would have been more embarrassed Alayna for a creepy hairdo or me because I made my sweet angel look like that!) Needless to say after I was done with round 1 all Jason could say was, "Honey, I think you should call Courtney!" Um thanks dear for the moral support.

Me being the patient one in our family, I waited a few days and decided to try the hair thing again. To my surprise it wasn't too bad and Alayna looked rather cute. Although her father was just out of the world adoring her, saying how cute she was (now do you know who has the pigtail envy? It isn't me OR Alayna, it is really the bald guy!)

Anyway you decide...
Am I cute or what?


As October is Down Syndrome Awareness month I thought I would share a sweet little story.

For those who don't know, my parents RV full time and winter in Brownsville, Texas. This year of course, we are not only celebrating 1 wonderful year with Alayna during October (stay tuned next week) but, we are also celebrating the 400,000 individuals with down syndrome at our local Step Up for Down Syndrome (formerly named the Buddy Walk). (There is still time to join!)

My parents jumped on our team as fundraisers and contacted family, friends and RVers to join us too. One couple in Brownsville, who has never met Alayna or for that matter they don't even know anyone else with down syndrome, has taken a leap in spreading down syndrome awareness. They donated to our team here is KC AND as they can't be here to walk with us they have signed up to walk in the Buddy Walk in Texas to further celebrate individuals with down syndrome.

Hallelujah for the blessing of Alayna, the cute little ambassador that she is. She has touched so many lives, even those she has never or maybe will never meet. For these moments we are truly touched and thankful.

Another great God moment for us this week was that the Bible study through BSF International that I have gone to for 4 years on Wednesday mornings has a GREAT kids program for 2 year olds to 18 year olds (Aidan, Grace & Rayne have gone with me and LOVED it), now added a program for 6 month olds up to 2 year olds, so Alayna will be joining me on Wednesday mornings starting in January and next October she will start in the preschool program. YEAH GOD!