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Ella’s first Update!

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This is what has been going on lately.


Emily: She’s been doing great is really excited for her birthday. 28 years good for you mom! 😉

Joel: He’s been doing amazing and is rocking it at 40! You go dad!

Ella: I am finishing up 5th grade strong. I’m 11 years old and am excited for JR. High. My new favorite thing is volleyball. I am a setter #28. I have been working hard and sadly the season is ended 🙁 but I won’t stop volleyball.

Seth: His new phrase is “smarty cake” and “you’re crazy”.  He has grown so much and is doing great in school. He is 9….. whoa!!  His new hobbies are basketball, throwing his ponkies (monkeys) and swimming.

Kyle: He has started baseball. He is 6 years old and loves school. This kindergartener told his teacher “I’m going to be a scientist”. He is very smart and eager to learn. He also likes to draw and play legos.

Jack: He is three now and oh so ENERGETIC! You know typical 3’s. Well he is doing good in pre school. Even though he can be rough we still love that cutie pie.


Until next time,





We are so blessed to be together.







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Get frustrated or make it a teaching moment

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Sometimes when Seth does something goofy like making a mess of packing materials, you have a choice to either get frustrated or use it as a teaching moment.

Or, you can do like I did today, and do both.

Up close and personal

Standing up

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Hope for haircuts

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Many of you, whether you have a child with Down syndrome or not, wonder if your child will overcome the terror of the barber chair. There is hope. Seth used to be so resistant that the blood vessels on his face would burst. We would walk away beaten down emotionally and with Seth’s face full of red dots. It has gotten progressively better. And now we have this video today. 

Overcoming fear through the force


Through prayer, perserverance and a long-suffering stylist, Lucia, you too can see this miracle happen. 

Everyone had a good experience today. 

Kyle with a haircut and a smile

Jackson with a sucker

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A tea party

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Well it is been a while since I posted last. It turns out you get pretty busy with four children 10 and under. I thought I would share a time lapse here of a tea party we had with our good friends Chase and Brittany.

Why not dance after the tea party?

You will note that Seth has to get up towards the end and start dancing. What’s a party without a good dance?  
By the way, if you want see an inspiring story of God working in an amazing way to sustain a family going through an incredibly difficult circumstance, check out Chase and Brittany’s story here

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Seth and Ella have a dance

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This will bring a smile. It certainly did for me. Ella has become such a beautiful girl and her brother Seth adores her.

Seth asks, "May I have this dance."

Seth asks, “May I have this dance.”

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Happiest People in the World

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I thought this article did a really good job of highlighting both the great joys as well as the great challenges. I guess the only way that I would modify the “happiest people” is to change it to the most content people. Seth is the least likely to complain about not getting something and hardly ever asks for new things. He really does enjoy the things he has and is very happy to continue to enjoy them. He will, however, ask for ice cream quite often. But, he does in the most charming way! From the article:

The statistics are remarkable.

  • 99% of those surveyed are happy with their lives.
  • 97% answered yes to the question, “Do you like who you are?”
  • 99% agreed with the statement, “Do you love your family?”

Do you know of any group of people, of any economic status, educational level, age, ethnicity, or geographic region, who approach those percentages? Who are these happy people?

People living with Down syndrome.

I especially liked this part because it is real and often ignored as most on the outside default to the “they are just always so happy” stereotype.

The cognitive disabilities associated with Down syndrome, which vary with every child, will mean learning will take longer and can be discouraging for everyone involved. Meltdowns, stubborn refusal to obey, sadness about a circumstance, and fights with siblings will be part of the mix. Add how badly many in our society behave towards people with Down syndrome, and you are guaranteed to have hard days.

Every day we have with our Seth is a blessed day.

This guy in the green is really cute.

This guy in the green is really cute.

Superheroes unite!

Superheroes unite!

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Seth’s 6th Birthday and progress report

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Seth had a great first year of kindergarten. Despite being younger than most of his classmates and having special needs associated with Down syndrome, he was fully included in his class. He was taken out for some more individualized work for about 45 minutes in the morning and 45 minutes in the afternoon. Other than that, he was participating with the rest of his typically developing classmates.

Seth and Moriah

Seth and one of his favorite friends, Moriah, at the school square dance

We were quite anxious about the whole process but the teachers and aides were so helpful in making the transition. We are very thankful, because this has not always been the experience of other families we’ve spoken with at other schools. Seth is repeating kindergarten again this year, and thankfully he has the same teacher as last year. She has given us several encouraging notes talking about how much more Seth is participating and verbalizing in his first few weeks. Maybe all that speech therapy, tutoring and prayer are moving the needle. We are so excited to see all of his progress. We know he’s understanding and communicating much better, but sometimes you love to hear others affirm that progress.

For Seth’s birthday, we hosted a large group of folks from church and some from his school in early May. We are so thankful for Seth and how God has used him in such an awesome way in his first six years. Enjoy the video:


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Seth is playing baseball

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We didn’t know what all to expect for Seth when he was born with Down syndrome. I’m not sure I expected him to be able to make good contact with a pitch when he was five years old. Whatever our expectations were, Seth continues to exceed them. In this case, he is participating on a baseball team with some of his buddies from church. You’ll note that he’s not nearly as interested in playing the field as he is in hitting that ball. In this league, the coach will pitch five to ten pitches to the players and if they don’t make contact, the tee will be brought out and the player will hit off the tee. I fully expected the tee would be the standard for Seth, but through three games, he’s made contact with a pitched ball twice out five or six “at bats”. The bigger point is that Seth’s teammates and coaches have fully embraced his participation and have cheered him along like all of the other players. Bottom Line: Seth is playing baseball, and that’s pretty cool!

Watch him in this video:

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My Little Cowpokes…..

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It’s rodeo season here in Texas, and all the FunHouse little ones have ALL had fun recently dressing up in their best western (not the hotel) gear.

While I realize that Sully’s costume doesn’t exactly fit with our western theme here at the ranch, I couldn’t help but capture our precious Jack-Jack who is growing by leaps and bounds now that he’s a 6-month-old!

Sullivan isn’t scary at all and Woody wears his hat well.

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3.21 World Down Syndrome Day: Thoughts on How I Celebrate Diversity

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Whether the subject matter is education, the workforce, religion, or societal expectations, it seems our culture is infatuated with the idea of diversity.  For some, it may never truly be understood.  For others, embracing diversity is something that is slowly being learned.  For the children of today, it is the norm.

In my opinion, we are headed in the right direction with diversity.  After all, by embracing diversity we pronounce that no one should be denied opportunities based upon their color, race, age, religion, gender or way of life. However, as much as we’d like to pat ourselves on the back and say “we are a nation that embraces diversity,” we have not yet arrived.

Who wouldn't want to include this guy?!

Who wouldn’t want to include this guy?!

Rather, there is an unspoken qualifier that underlies that statement, and I would argue a more accurate definition of the nation’s understanding of diversity is this:  We are a nation that embraces diversity, to the extent that we deem you a valuable contributor to society.

The time is now for people of all colors, races, age, religions, genders or ways of life to recognize another group in our society that is too often left out when we throw out the word “diversity.”  Simply put, they are the many men, women, boys and girls who are differently-abled and part of the special needs community.  If as employers, educators, neighbors and churches….if as human beings, we are preaching to one another the value of diversity, then we must stand prepared to not only include, but to actively embrace those differently-abled members of the special needs community as our valuable equals.

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