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Video: Kyle Walks! But he refuses to make it a habit

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Kyle is one funny guy. He’s shown us he has been capable of walking for a while now, so his first steps have happened, but we had not documented it well. So, these are technically his first steps captured digitally at the fun house. Since he’s been teasing us for some time, it wasn’t quite the over the top celebration as on Seth’s big walking day for obvious reasons. Seth has Down syndrome, so his journey to walking was a determined struggle.

Matching PJs

A more relaxed look for the fun house

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The third child

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Sweet, sweet Kyle.  I’m so sorry, sweet baby, that Mommy didn’t write you a letter about how much I adore you on your first birthday.  It’s not that I don’t think you are amazing or that you’re not as cute as the other two, it’s just that you’re the third child!  I don’t even have a baby book for you.  I can’t remember when you got your first tooth, sat up, crawled or what your first solid food reaction was.  But I do remember that it all happened and YOU, my littlest one, have stolen my heart!

Sweet baby Kyle

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Typical Threes….

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Ahhhh, the joys of children.  Much particular “joy” with three-year-olds it seems.  Whoever coined the phrase “terrible twos” must not have endured the crafty and mischievious mind of a three-year-old.  And why should a child with Down Syndrome be any different?  I’ll be the first to say that Seth’s latest stunts as a blossoming 38-month-old are nothing more than typically developing….So I give you a few of his best moves, from Seth’s perspective:

I've got some really good tricks up my sleeve

The Grab and Go

I have a growing vocabulary (both words and signs) and some of the ones that my mom started to teach me long before I started talking were “share,” “your turn,” “my turn,” “please,” and “thank you.”  But with a slick move like The Grab and Go, words or signs will only slow you down.  Here’s how it works:  Simply sneak up behind your victim, whether its a self-defending sister or an innocent little brother, and take whatever it is that seems to be captivating their attention.  Then, just go, go, go!  Get the heck out of dodge with your new, fast feet!  Run to another part of the house as fast as possible, play with the object for about 30 seconds, then casually discard the item unless you see the self-defending sister chasing and shrieking behind you!  If that’s the case, start shouting “no” and prepare to hit her with the object until the Fun House referee comes in to break up the “misunderstanding” (right?).  At that point, fall to the ground in a heap of tears, as though you have been wronged by the other party.  Tip:  Good luck convincing the Fun House referee you are innocent.  Just try to shed as many tears as possible.  It helps if you stick out your bottom lip, point harshly at the other party and say, “Mama, Mama!” over and over again. Continue Reading…

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Potty Training Boot Camp Has Begun!

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Today I earned a huge salary….or at least those new appliances Joel bought me for our 10th wedding anniversary.  Potty training boot camp started this past weekend for Seth and let me tell you, this kid is a doozy!  I’ve got my work cut out for me!

If only he smiled EVERY time....

In just a few short days, he’s learned that M&M’s aren’t worth his time to “park it” on the potty chair for a few minutes.  And for that matter, neither are Skittles, raisins, Craisins, chocolate chip cookies, pretzels, Godfish, Kool-Aid (oh yeah!), Chee-tos or ANYTHING ELSE in my fridge or pantry.  He’s done with books, Imagination Movers and even Seth’s favorite Buzz Lightyear action figure was thrown from the bathroom after he demonstrated his best toileting skills to the onlooking three-year-old.  Oh, but Seth CAN do it.  He’s done it already, lots of times.  He just doesn’t want to, and I’m struggling between feeling like I should strongly encourage him to do it and just keeping things light and fun.

So, today I took the light and fun approach.

And tomorrow I’ll be going back to the strongly encouraging approach.

I know what you’re thinking and what you want to say (and probably will say) to me, “It’s on HIS time.  He’ll do it when he’s ready.  Don’t push him.  Don’t make him do something he doesn’t want to do.”  And while I partly agree with you on that thought, I’ll argue that I bet you haven’t potty trained a child with Down Syndrome. Continue Reading…

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ABC- Anniversary, Broadmoor, Colorado

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June 30th marked our 10th anniversary this year and earlier in the spring, Joel suggested that we plan a trip to Vegas.  I was very excited at the possibility because my all-time favorite, Celine Dion, was coming back this summer to start a new show and I wanted to see it.  Then, Joel called me one day to say that he’d been awarded a trip to Colorado through his company…all play, no work, all expenses paid.  Do you see where I’m going with this????

What a spectacular place!

SO!  Joel and I were fortunate to celebrate our 10th anniversary this past week in Colorado Springs at the Broadmoor.  All I can say is “WOW!”  Everything about the trip was over-the-top, starting with a generous babysitting venture from Mimi and Poppa…just a couple of our favorites around here.  The kids loved every minute of their time with grandparents since they don’t see them very often, and Joel and I were able to relax and enjoy the trip without worry.

Tuesday morning, Joel and I hit the Arkansas River with several other excited first-time-river-rafters.  Once I was melted and poured in to my wet suit, booties, life jacket and helmet, we loaded a bus and drove up the road several miles to the “put in” spot.  During the drive, the guide began talking to us about survival skills, should one of us fall out of the raft. “Grab the OS line, keep your nose and toes out of the water at all times, the red and yellow rope is your last hope, swim to the bank for safety and stay in one spot until someone comes to find you, etc.”  I’ve gotta be honest, I started to get a little anxious and made Joel swear to save me at all costs!  BUT, once we hit the first set of rapids and were told to “LEAN IN!” by our guide, I was sold.  That was, by far, the most fun thing I’ve ever done in my life.  Joel and I jumped out of the raft and swam a little bit (in 45 degree water) toward the end of the journey and we laughed about it the whole way home.

We looked goofy, but we had a blast

Wednesday we headed off to the Garden of the Gods and hiked through red rocks and pine trees with a picnic lunch amidst some friendly chipmunks.  Once we got back to the hotel, we spent some much needed R&R time at the resort spa and then headed downtown for a fine steak and lobster dinner.  It was an amazing, extravagant time that we truly loved. Several people asked if we had children and we gushed about our three little darlings at home….yes, we were those people.  It didn’t take much for us to flash their photos and talk about how much we missed them.

Taking in God's creation

The best thing about our trip was a renewed bond of friendship that can easily be missed with dinner, discipline, diapers and dirty clothes.  It was our first time out of state together, without children, in more than 5 years!  We talked and laughed and had SO MUCH FUN.  I must have told Joel a hundred times, “Now I remember why I fell in love with you!”

As a matter of fact, I like him a whole lot too.

Praising God for 10 years~  Emily

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Big Changes for Bubba

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Seth will be three on May 1.  I just can’t believe it!  In some ways, it seems like time has flown, and in others, it seems like we’ve done SO MUCH in only three years.  And I guess we have done a lot in three years to prepare him for this birthday.  Since birth, we’ve been preparing Seth for this day, because at three, Seth gets to start school.

This guy is thriving!


Since he was six weeks old, we’ve used therapists for Seth (PT, OT, SLP) through ECI- Early Childhood Intervention.  We’ve had such a fantastic experience and met some wonderful people- friends- through this journey of helping Seth achieve milestones along the way.  As his mother, I’ve received so much support, resources and help in this amazing journey of raising a child with special needs.  No doubt, the Lord chose some special people to come along side me during this time.  I have a new definition of hero:  those that have dedicated their lives and their careers to help kids like Seth and moms like me.

His next steps will be graduating ECI and moving to PPCD- Preschool Program for Children with Disabilities.  On Thursday, we had a big meeting with the school district in which Seth was evaluated by a Diagnostician, Physical Therapist, Speech and Language Pathologist, Occupational Therapist and PPCD Lead Teacher.  Talk about intimidating!  I had a hard time eating that morning…. BUT, the team was extremely warm and welcoming toward Seth and me, and we quickly felt comfortable and “safe” for lack of a better term.

They played with him for more than an hour through some physical exercises (kicking, stairs, jumping), fine motor (coloring, picking up small objects, peg board), cognative (puzzles, following directions, stacking, sorting, categorization) and launguage exercises (expressive and receptive communication).  It sounds like a lot, and it was.  But our little fella did GREAT!  If he was ever at his best, it was Thursday afternoon.  I’m praising God that he felt good and was able to just shine.  Of course, he charmed them and they were eating out of his hand by the end of the evaluation.  PT said he might get some gross motor work at school to help with stairs.  OT was totally impressed that he held a pencil the right way and could draw a circle.  SLP was amazed at all of his signs and emerging/existing words.  Lead teacher said he’ll be the favorite in school without a doubt.  They LOVED him and I heard “he’s SO cute” about a hundred times.  🙂

So, off he goes.  Big changes for Bubba….and Ella too.  Can you imagine how she’s going to react the first day that the bus shows up at our house to pick him up and she can’t get on it to go too?  I know that he’ll do well in PPCD and I’m very comfortable with and excited about him starting on Monday, May 2.  I’ll take him to school the first few days and let him get used to riding the bus home before I send him off on it in the mornings, but that is the plan by the end of the first week.

We ask that you would continue to pray with us that the Lord would help his little brain to make those connections so that his speech will continue to grow.  We’ve seen great improvement in the last few months and it sure is making life at the Fun House a lot easier with a communicating toddler!  God has been so, so good to us and to Seth.  He has been faithful to provide for us and send folks to encourage us along the way.  It’s my prayer that one day, Seth would be able to tell his own story of God’s faithfulness in his life.  When I look at Seth, I can’t help but think about how amazing and how creative our God is.  I’m just humbled that we were chosen to love him every day of our lives.

Pray for Seffy on Tuesday morning, as he’ll be having his fifth set of T-tubes (ears) and a tonsillectomy.  Should be an overnight hospital stay for us, so please pray for rest, complete healing, and logistics.  Pray with us that this surgery will help provide relief and complete healing to Seth’s chronic ear infections and sleep apnea.  To God be the glory!

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Get In! A Family Adventure….

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Today was the perfect day to go to the zoo.  Or so we thought, as did everyone else in the city!  As we inched up to the entrance in a line of what must have been several thousand (dozen) cars in front of and behind us, we had to quickly shift gears and figure out a Plan B.  After all, we’d just sung Raffi’s version of “Going to the Zoo” and talked about snowcones, train rides and monkeys on the way.  These kids were salivating all things zoo!

Joel is a good man and smart man.  We soon pulled into the parking garage of the Children’s Museum and were eating our perfect picnic lunch on the sidewalk in no time.  After several hours of all kinds of fun, I think the kids have given us a great indication of what they could grow up to be.  Ella was a natural behind the camera and should make a great meteorologist on day!  Seth really took to the crime lab and police car…you can see him practicing his officer friendly wave below:

Seth was ready to roll out of the museum

Kyle wasn’t as impressed with the Children’s Museum as the big two, and he found mommy’s shoulder to be the perfect spot for a power nap!

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Wedding Day!

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Our sweet friend Sarah got married and this was a quick pic of Ella and I as we were getting ready to leave.  It was a beautiful afternoon wedding and Ella’s first, I might add.  We had a lot of fun getting all gussied up together.  If only I had a flower for my hair too!

We had a fun time getting ready


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Hi! I live under a rock….

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Or at least I think that I do…or did. The last five months have been a whirlwind of new baby, sick, holidays, sick, kids, sick….catch my drift? I’m embarrassed to think that Kyle is five months old and this is probably my first time to really sit down and write ANYTHING. Maybe I did this a few months ago, but I don’t remember it. Well, that’s the third child for you! I logged every doctor visit, growth chart, birth story, milestones, etc., with Ella and Seth. Poor Kyle’s birthday got announced…I think. He doesn’t even have a baby book yet! Isn’t that terrible?

We’re doing pretty okay. Life is adjusting to another new normal with Kyle in the picture. We call him Ky Ky, as Seth named him early on. Sometimes I call him Rainy from his middle name, “Ranen.” Or even that evolves into “Little Storm Cloud” when he gets fussy. Or even Ky Ky Rainy. Whatever we call him, we love him. He is a DOLL. Joel and I look at him all the time and gush over how beautiful we think he is. It’s fun having a baby around again, but let’s not overlook the HARD WORK part of it all.

Ranen means "joyous"

So, in the first four months of Kyle, I had mastitis twice, strep throat and the flu. The kids (even Kyle) have all had ear infections and Seth has had 2 rounds of strep as well….and his daddy had it once too. Whew! We’re tired of sick! I hope to be singing again soon. Now that I’m sleeping well and physically well, I am anxious to get back to leading worship because it just blesses the Lord and is such a great high point in my week!

The kids are all great. I’m working now to get Seth registered with PPCD- Preschool Program for Children with Disabilities- within our local school district. He’ll get to start school on his third birthday, so Monday, May 2nd, my little three year old boy will start going to school five days a week from 9-noon. And did I mention that he’ll be riding a bus? My heart is having a hard time thinking about letting go of him. I know it’s just a few hours, but for the past three years, I’ve been ON TOP of this kid…every therapy appt, every doctor visit, every detail of everything Seth has done, I’ve done with him. I’m prayerful for his teachers, the bus driver, the aids, everyone that touches my little fella while I’m not there. I’m prayerful that they show him love, patience and kindness….but in so many ways, I’m praying that they are affected by him. Praying that our family shows the love of Christ, praying that Seth is their little sunshine just like he is ours. What a privilege that these folks get to teach my kid. (I bet all parents feel that way too!)

Seth is fortunate to have Ella as a sister

Kyle is darling, did I mention? 🙂 He’s rolling over, playing well on his tummy and smiling like crazy. He constantly has his eyebrows up with a look of surprise on his face. He seems laid back and doesn’t laugh easily, though he is quick to smile and tuck his head down like he’s being shy. Mimi says his daddy was a lot like that as a little fella. It would be okay with me if he was like his daddy. He looks soooo much like Ella as a baby.

Ella seems to be on modesty patrol. She’s quick to tell me if some girl needs to “put on more clothes” or if something I’m wearing is not quite up to snuff. She wants to wear dresses and skirts all the time and LOVES LOVES dress up and accessories. I wish I could slow down the growin’ up train….it’s just moving too fast.

Well, off to clean up a kid….Seth actually. He has the stomach virus. I forgot to add that to my list….yes, praying the rest of us avoid this one, but we all seem to share things around here!

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Money down the drain

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Ella clearly gets her sense of humor from dad 🙂

Tonight at the grocery store, Ella and I sampled the gourmet pizza and listened to the guy ramble on and on about why we HAD to buy it, etc. I said “thank you” and as we were walking away, Ella said, “Money down the drain, Mom!”. What?!?!?



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