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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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Video: The Kids Find Out About Baby #4

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Watch this video of the kids finding out about baby #4 (who we now know is Jackson) for the first time on Valentine’s Day. It was back in February, but it’s an unforgettable moment that we wanted to share. Ella was blown away. Seth and Kyle took it in stride.

This news drew happy tears from Ella.

This news drew happy tears from Ella.

We can’t wait for September to welcome another little one to the Fun House.

 

 

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Video: Seth Turns Five Years Old!

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Happy birthday to our Seth!!  Time does indeed fly by, as we can hardly believe that we just celebrated his fifth birthday. What a journey these years with him have been.  I say it each time- we wouldn’t trade what we’ve learned these last five years for all the world.

Seth is a treasure I wish the whole world could know.

It’s funny how Seth can be both our easiest and our most difficult child all at once.  Let’s start with easy:  he is the most content child I’ve ever known.  His favorites are easy:  Jesse and Woody (Toy Story) dolls, monkeys, bubbles, outside, Sports Illustrated football, basketball and baseball encyclopedias, Finding Nemo, Mary Poppins (mainly for Burt), watching replays of A&M football games, playing tackle, dancing, macaroni and cheese, pancakes, chocolate and DADDY.  Everything else I think he could give or take, but those are clearly his favorites and truly a win-win every time.  What makes him the most difficult?  Seth is by far the most stubborn of all our kids.  He will refuse to do even the simplest or most necessary of tasks (for example, go to the bathroom and wash your hands) just because he’s made up his mind that he doesn’t want to.  Forget bribery, forget pulling out the list of favorites.  If he’s decided no, we figured out finally that we’d better decide to put on our patient hats.  Seems we don’t have enough of those around here some days.  😉

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Celebrating Ella’s 7th birthday

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Ella was born on November 28, 2005. She is currently the only girl out of eight nieces and nephews, all of who are shown in this video. November is a big month for her as we usually celebrate her birthday three different times. In this video, you’ll see that we celebrated her birthday with her friends, one time with Joel’s family,  and once with just the Fun House. Ella is getting taller every day as you can see by those long legs in the video.

She's really growing up

She’s really growing up

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Video: Seth playing with the trains

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Seth is enjoying the wooden train set this year here the FunHouse. It’s hard to turn this guy down when he asks you to play. How can you?

Nothing like two boys playing with trains

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Celebrating Kyle’s Second Birthday

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Kyle is probably the baby at the Fun House with the most nicknames….I could probably count past twenty in no time at all.  One of our favorites is “Cowell,” given to him by his big brother and it kind of stuck with everyone.  But I call him “Coco.” Not sure how that one came about, but it’s fitting nonetheless.  Again, I could reiterate everything I wrote from his post about his first birthday:  he is the ultimate baby, we spoil him to death unapologetically and he is truly a joyful little guy.

Kyle is truly a joy!

Not much has changed in a year other than mobility and the word “NO!”  But even the ultimate of all toddlers has to test authority with the word “no,” I guess.  We celebrated his second birthday in early October and Joel put together this video.

Here’s a list of Kyle’s favorite things, in no particular order:

1.  Pappy.  If Pappy is in the room (Em’s dad) nothing else seems to matter.  It’s a funny thing, because out of my three, we think Kyle looks most like my dad.  Even one of my best friends growing up calls him “little Clarence.” Too cute!  Kyle talks about Pappy constantly and everything we read in books or discuss at home somehow seems to come back to Pappy for Kyle.  Like the other day we were out in the yard and saw a big helicopter fly by.  He saw it, pointed and yelled, “Pappy!!!!!”  What on earth!?!

Kyle loves his Pappy

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Video: Emily Reads for Seth

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Seth has really been making progress with his speech. He’s been going to speech therapy once a week since March and is now back in his half day pre-school program since school started back up.

The kids are loving school and so is Mom

We are working really hard on shapes, colors, and ABCs. Regular readers remember my feeble attempt to make a video for Seth singing the ABCs. Emily stepped up the game big time this week by making a longer, more comprehensive, video where she reads several books. We figured someone else might benefit from this other than Seth so we are posting the video Emily made for Seth. We try to keep learning fun here at the FunHouse.

I also created a video in the past for Ella where I read “Where the Wild Things Are” for her viewing pleasure.

 

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Video: Ella does a nice cartwheel and then we have a laugh

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Ella goes to gymnastics once a week now and is making good progress. Watch this nice cartwheel and round off. Then laugh as she has a bit of a mishap. We all laughed too!

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We don’t call it the FunHouse for nothing!

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Potty Training Success!

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After unsuccessfully cajoling Emily to write about Seth’s potty training success here at the Fun House, I decided to give my shorter, less compelling recount of that experience.

History

Many of you may remember a post back in July of last year discussing our potty training attempt with Seth. Seth wasn’t ready then and he made that quite evident through his vehement opposition to even the thought of sitting on a potty upon request. (This stubborn defiance, we believe, is about 50% a uniquely Down syndrome characteristic and about 50% Seth just reflecting the personality of his wonderful parents!) Additionally, we weren’t sure he was putting together the bodily output and the feeling that came right before it. Finally, our frustration and expectation levels were way out of sync with where they should have been. But, this is not unusual with Emily and me both being “bottom line” achiever personalities. We aren’t the type of people who typically just “enjoy the process” or “ease our way into things”. We like formulaic (A + B = C) answers and will carefully follow the process to ensure we get to the result on time and under budget, so to speak. I confess that I naturally fall into that camp even more than Emily. Continue Reading…

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Video: Beach vacation 2012

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The Fun House went south for the last part of June and enjoyed the sandy beach and unusually blue waters of Galveston. The water turned amazingly blue starting the second day we were there. The locals say it was a change in the currents. So, God blessed us with a more aesthetically pleasing beach for most of our stay.

We had unusually blue Galveston water

We kept the itinerary pretty simple as on previous beach vacations. This time, we were able to get both sets of grandparents to come enjoy the beach with us. Most days, Mimi and Poppa and Nana and Pappy would join the kids in the swimming pool to start the morning. This ended up being the favorite time for the grandparents, as the heat wasn’t as oppressive and the kids were fresh and in good spirits. Continue Reading…

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