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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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Diversity.

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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Celebrating Ella’s Eighth Birthday

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Ella turned eight years old on November 28, 2013, and she did it in style. The Fun House enjoyed celebrating with family and friends. There are plenty of opportunities to do that on her birthday since it falls so close to Thanksgiving. I’ve always told Ella that Thanksgiving is my favorite holiday, and I can’t think of too many better things to celebrate and be thankful for than Ella. Ella is the reason we started this blog back in 2005, and I’m so glad we kept it going because God has used this blog to show his goodness, his mercy, his humor and his miraculous power over the last eight years. Hopefully this blog has been an encouragement to a few. It’s been fun for us. And without further delay, here’s Ella’s birthday video.

We love you Ella and pray that God will continue to use you as a light to display His glory.

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Celebrating Kyle on his third birthday

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The days have passed quickly since all of the activity at the end of September with Jackson’s multiple TV appearances. However, in the midst of all the excitement with Jackson, the Fun House were so excited to celebrate Kyle’s third birthday. We enjoyed hosting my parents and Emily’s parents to celebrate Kyle.

Kyle's birthday brought out both sets of grandparents.

Kyle’s birthday brought out both sets of grandparents.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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Today Show Follow Up Interview – Jackson’s Live TV Birth

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Well, just when we thought the fun was over, we were asked for a live follow up interview on the Today Show to discuss Emily’s live TV birth of Jackson on Monday as part of the Today Show’s #BornTODAY focus. Here’s the relevant footage of our family during this morning’s program.

This morning was about the most challenging it gets from a parenting perspective. Seth woke up cranky and Kyle, who is entering his most challenging toddler age, was flexing his independence muscles with force. All the new people and the change in routine wasn’t ideal for happy, compliant children. Thus, sitting on a couch for “look-ins” every seven minutes and then doing the actual interview required plenty of cajoling and other forms of “encouragement” to get Seth and Kyle to cooperate. The camera, production guys, and producer NBC used were all great along with the representative from Woman’s Hospital of Texas who provided extra hands to go along with Emily’s parents. Emily was happy to see that Dr. Cone got some more face time on the footage of the birth that hadn’t been shown on Monday. He deserves the recognition for his excellent work in delivering all four of our children and his special care for Emily over the years. Needless to say, we won’t be forgetting this week, and not primarily because of the media exposure. The TV folks go away, but we get to enjoy the precious gift of Jackson for a long time. We praise God for him and pray that he magnifies the name of Jesus with his life.

Setup NBC interview

They moved some furniture to get the shot

This NBC team made us look good

This NBC team made us look good

 

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Baby Jackson is born on NBC’s Today Show

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The whole process started with Emily’s doctor asking her if she would be interested in participating in NBC’s Today Show’s attempt to get as many live births on TV during their program on September 23rd. Emily was due on September 28th but she had delivered two weeks ahead of schedule for each of the births of Ella, Seth, and Kyle. After talking it over, she decided she was game. All of this was contingent on Emily not starting labor before that day on her own. Well, the night before the big day Emily’s water broke at home and she began labor on her own. I got the opportunity to run around the house like a mad man, pack the car, and drive faster than usual from our home to the hospital about 27 miles away. Needless to say, we made pretty good time getting there. However, once we got to the hospital, Emily’s contractions were regular but weren’t getting closer together. She ended up laboring all night on her own, which put her into the group with a high probability of giving birth on the Today Show.

Woman's Hospital of Texas had a professional photographer take this pic.

The Hospital had a professional photographer take this pic. Also seen at Woman’s Hosptial Facebook page.

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Ella attempts to hatch a chicken egg in her room

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Ella tries to re-create a science project from school in her room. When mom is helping clean her room, she discovers this chick hatching project. Never a dull moment in the FunHouse.

Sneaky Ella trying to hatch a chick at home

Sneaky Ella trying to hatch a chick at home

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The summer of 2013

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We are back with an update of our 2013 summer. The five of us had so much fun going to the hill country to start the summer.

Good family time in the hill country

Good family time in the hill country

Then, Emily and I were able to get away by ourselves to San Diego for a long weekend.

Amazing view at La Jolla

Amazing view at La Jolla

Nana and Pappy did an amazing job taking care of them while we were gone. And finally, we spent a great time in Galveston with my brother Jamy and his family along with my mom and dad.

Thankful that our extended family are some of our favorite people.

Thankful that our extended family are some of our favorite people.

I put together a short video to capture the memories. We hope you enjoy! Feel free to sing along.

Now we are waiting for baby Jackson to come anytime between now and the end of September. We are so excited to meet him, but Emily said she would be more than happy to wait until Seth starts kindergarten and Ella begins second grade in just one week. My how time flies! Until next time…

 

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