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Video Blog: Seth goes to preschool

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After Seth’s 3.5 week bout with various types of illness, he was finally able to go to his preschool, albeit a week removed from when the other kids began. Nonetheless, it is a milestone worth celebrating at the Fun House. The video starts with Ella showing off at the pool again. She’s seen daddy do a flip into the water before. With NO HELP OR PRODDING FROM HER DAD, she has started doing this as well. I think it’s pretty cool, while I’m sure the grandmothers are holding their breath.

Seth was ready for preschool

I also have some video of Seth helping water the plants, and finally I show the big day when Seth was able to catch the bus for his first day of school. He knew that bus was coming, and he remembered this was good thing. He started preschool the last few weeks of the previous school year after he turned three.  Seth is able to go this preschool program because of some of his developmental delays related to Down syndrome. But, as far as we can tell, Seth thinks it’s a half day party every week day. Enjoy the movie.

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Video: Ella goes to kindergarten

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Our little girl is growing up.  In the midst, of all of Seth’s sickness, we didn’t want Ella’s big week to get lost in the mix. Ella had a great first week at kindergarten while making new friends and staying in the good graces with her teacher. It was funny to hear her report each day she came home from school. She would give an account of all of the other classmates who had to visit the stop bucket, which apparently is the tool the teacher uses to keep order. The kids get a yellow or red card of some sort when they run afoul of the rules. This has Ella’s attention. She wants to be the one going to the “treasure chest” to get a little prize for extra good behavior. Based on some of the stories she tells, I feel sorry for the teacher.

Ella’s favorite activity so far has been art, followed closely by music. Her eyes really do light up when she talks about the art room. She told us, “The art room is magical!” Emily told me they walked by a man in the grocery store who was displaying all of his art, and Ella was completely captivated. So, we will encourage this and see where it goes. You never know what she might do in the arts. We think she gets this from her Mimi (my mom) and Pappy (Emily’s dad). They are the artists.

Sweet Ella and her mom.

We had a first week of school party with the family tonight. Ella desired that we go out to eat to celebrate. So, we went to the local pizza place. Thankfully, Seth was having a good day of health. Today was the first day the whole Fun House had been out of the house together as a family in a month. We appreciate all the prayers for Seth and our family over the last few days. Seth seems to be on the mend, but we’ve thought that before. Hopefully, we can keep him healthy and send him to his half-day school program soon.

She had a great week at school.

Anyone else have a kindergartner starting school?

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Seth wrestles with Dad

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In the midst of the sickness, Seth and I found some time to rough house at the Fun House a little bit.  Ella and I play a game where I close my eyes and then she tries to run around me without me getting her.  Seth likes to change the game up where I close my eyes and then he falls into my arms.  He’s not nearly as interested in running away as he is running right into my arms.  I quite enjoy the game.  He doesn’t think I’m playing the game right if I don’t close my eyes.  You’ll see him motion for me to close my eyes in the middle of the movie.  Enjoy the movie!

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Sick and Tired

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Last week Ella got sick with a stomach bug, then 72 hours later, Kyle and Seth both got sick. In the midst of this, Emily was also sick, but with a milder case, and then I got sick. So, the best we can tell, we all were taken down by some kid that Ella got a little too close to in her class at church. Seth, as usual, gets the worst of it when sickness comes to visit the Fun House.  He also got the stomach bug, but apparently at the same time, he was developing another ear infection.  So, as soon as he recovered somewhat from the stomach bug, he had to start taking an oral antibiotic along with antibiotic ear drops to knock out the ear infection.  Just as the ear infection was being tamed, Seth had contracted another stomach virus.  And that is where we stand today.  Everyone else is on the mend, but Seth remains a very sick boy. Children with Down syndrome typically have a weakened immune system.  This explains Seth’s more frequent bouts with viruses along with his difficulty in fighting off viruses when he contracts them.

Everyone is on the mend, except Seth

We are thankful that Seth’s heart is quite strong and free from any known defect. The incidence of congenital heart disease in children with Down syndrome is up to 50 percent. But, while his heart may be functioning well, his body needs a break from this current sickness.  We’d like for him to be well enough to go to his school on Monday.  This will be his first full year in the PPCD program.  He got to go the last few months of the school year after he turned three, but now he’ll get to experience the half-day program all school year. Pray for Seth to feel better for that day.  We’d hate for him to miss going to school on the same day his big sister goes to kindergarten.

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Ella is a graceful dancer

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Ella just finished her second season of dance at the YMCA here.  It ended with a dance recital for the parents to watch.  Unfortunately, I wasn’t able to go because both Seth and Kyle were sick with the stomach bug.  So, Emily and Ella pranced off to the event and I rolled up my sleeves to continue the care-taking/janitorial duty that Emily had performed all day.  Thankfully, Emily took the camera and got some good video.  I was able to enjoy Ella’s show with her on the couch when she got back home.  In the video, I love how she’s the only one mouthing the words to the song.  She’s really into it!

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The Fun House celebrates Dad’s birthday

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Invariably, my birthday turns out to be another opportunity to let the kids celebrate.  This birthday, I decided to “celebrate” at the local bouncy house.  I took the opportunity to get some fun video of Seth, Ella, and Kyle.  Seth gets the slow motion treatment on one of his big spills.  Don’t worry, he wasn’t hurt.  Before we went to the bouncy house, Emily made a hearty breakfast for us to enjoy.

Ella is fun to celebrate with

The kids couldn’t wait for me to open my gifts.  They got me pajamas.  Ella believes that I should have an outfit for bed. So, we’ll see how that works out.  The chief Fun House video editor is aging.

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Kyle is working his oral motor skills

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In light of all the special work we do with Seth to help develop his speech, Emily and I marvel at Kyle’s oral motor skills. He’s just showing off in this video.

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Bouncy House and Boots

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Emily took the kids to the bouncy house today.  This particular bouncy house had a really steep slide that Seth was able to climb all the way up and slide down.  Compared to the other bouncy house we’ve been too, this slide was very fast.  He absolutely loved it.

Kyle really enjoys his bath

At the house this evening, Seth found his cowboy hat and boots and decided to match that up with his pajamas.  Kyle found his way over to the drums and gave us a nice beat.  Ella was busy taking down fake notes about my health issues.  She brought out the doctors kit, and she and Seth were taking care of the entire household’s ailments.  As you’ll see in the video, Seth was checking Kyle’s heartbeat by putting the stethoscope on his head.  In short, it was another fun day here at the Fun House.

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Kyle Army Crawls!

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Kyle decided to move himself across the floor.  It’s not surprising that he can’t keep that big ole tummy off the ground.  But he is making it happen somehow.  Honestly, he needed to figure this out just for basic self-preservation.  On the very day we took this video Seth jumped on top of Kyle and rammed his little head into the dresser.  So, there is great joy in the Fun House that Seth will soon have to chase Kyle down before inflicting any punishment.  Seth doesn’t do it maliciously, most of the time, but that doesn’t mean Kyle doesn’t take a beating.  The love Seth has for his brother is strong, but sometimes it’s a bit too strong.

The second part of the short video shows Seth and Ella styling mom’s hair.  If these two could really style and color mom’s hair they could save dad a lot of money.  Enjoy the show!

 

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Expectations

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Emily and I have been married for 10 years as of June 30 this year, and I have learned a lot in that period of time.  Being married and having children has exposed the sin in my life of having expectations that don’t come from a place of full surrender to God’s plan.  Let me share a story that highlights this point in a very big way.  In November of 2005, Emily and I were blessed to have our first daughter, Ella.  In our minds, everything about Ella met our expectations.  She was an objectively beautiful baby girl.  She met milestones ahead of her peer group.  She was walking in just over 10 months.  She was very verbal.  She had a fun personality.  She was what we thought a baby girl should be.  She was our Ella.

Ella was certainly a blessing

So, we thought we should go for a second child.  After all, WE could put out high quality offspring.  Well, this is where our expectations began to be checked and pride began to be broken.  God was going to put our expectations to death and replace them with something so much better.  It took longer for Emily to get pregnant with Seth.  After a blood-test and subsequent ultrasounds, we found that our little Seth had about a 1 in 8 chance of having Down syndrome.  For those of you who aren’t familiar with Down syndrome, or Trisomy 21 in this case, it is a genetic condition in which a person has 47 chromosomes instead of the usual 46.  Trisomy 21 occurs when there is an extra copy of the 21st chromosome.  Most of the time Down syndrome is not inherited, but is rather a “random event”.

So, to continue with the story, we chose not to have additional testing, which would allow us to have 99% certainty regarding our son’s genetic condition because there was a small chance of terminating the pregnancy by doing this test.  As you can imagine, there was plenty of stress and uncertainty over the next four months after the ultrasound and plenty of faith building opportunities.  Finally, on May 1st, Seth was born, and he did indeed have Down syndrome.  We weren’t prepared totally for this reality.  We had talked to plenty of folks who had “false positives” during their pregnancies.  This is where I had to deal with my own lack of faith.  I had built up a set of expectations in my mind that weren’t unusual for dad with his first son, but they weren’t fully rooted in God’s purposes.  You see God’s ultimate purpose is to bring Himself glory.  If His ultimate purpose was anything else, He wouldn’t be God.  Here’s where I hadn’t truly conformed my expectations to God’s as it related to Seth.  I had prayed that God would use Seth’s life for His glory, but in the back of my head I had an expectation that Seth would succeed in sports, be a persuasive leader of people, or make it big in the business world.  Honestly, I felt like I deserved to have the ideal.

The reality is that Seth might excel in sports, but in a different context.  Seth still might be a persuasive leader of people but in a unique and different way and certainly not the way I was thinking.  The point is that Seth will have physical and cognitive challenges that my expected child did not.  We have seen God’s purpose in giving us Seth.  God has used him powerfully as a testimony of His grace and mercy.  And, He has done it through Seth in a glorious way that would have never happened through any other child.  You see God’s plan and expectations for Seth were SO much better and SO much more God glorifying than our expectations for a boy that never existed.  I am so thankful for Seth and so thankful that God is teaching me to trust in His plan.

I wouldn't trade Kyle or Seth for any other.

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