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Time for an update….

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Well, I guess it’s time for an update from our crew- I can’t remember the last time I wrote something!

Christmas was great- Joel took off two weeks and we hung out at home with the kids, mostly.  A few days before Christmas, we took Ella and Seth to the mall to visit Santa-man.  She was a big talker until we were the next ones in line….then she started backing out.  However, after much encouragement and a nice “elf” named Veronica, she did it!  Seth was totally cool about the whole thing and couldn’t understand why Ella would get so anxious about it.  (He is his father, she is her mother.)
We attended the Christmas Eve service at our church and were asked to light an advent candle/read Scripture together as a family.  To be honest, I wish they would have just asked me to sing a 10-minute solo.  Truly, I was nervous about the whole thing up until the minute we were walking off stage.  Let me set the scene:  A stage well-lit with candles (fire), Joel’s full attention on reading the Bible, I’m holding sleeping Seffy on my shoulder (he’s heavy and slipping because my other free hand is….), holding Ella’s hand and talking quietly to her, reassuring her that’s she’s doing a good job and to stay quiet and still.  She spots herself on the jumbo screen and snickers a little bit, but then daddy finished reading.  Praise God it is over!  We ran home and set out cookies/milk for Santa and reindeer food for Rudolph.
Christmas morning arrived no earlier than usual (that was our gift), so Ella girl found baby Ariel waiting for her under the tree around 8:30 that morning.  We opened gifts (Ella opened ALL the gifts), dressed and left for Nanna and Pappy’s new farm out in the country.  We had a great time with them for a few days, fishing, riding the tractors with Ella and just being still for a while.
The days following, Joel and I put our noses down and packed the majority of the house. With 12 days to go before closing, I’ve got lists and post-its and a continuous stream of things to remember in my head.  The house is completely turned upside down and stripped down of all decor, so it all feels a bit strange.  Please don’t hear this as complaining, because I am so excited about the new house!  I’ve been holding my breath a bit- waiting to see how it’s all going to shake down, but so far, so good.  I came to the conclusion today that I’ve been expecting something to go wrong in the whole process, but that’s been lack of faith that the Lord has it under control.  Once again, the control freak in me rears her ugly head!
On New Year’s Day, Seffy turned 8 months old.  Can’t we just stop time for a while?  I can’t believe he’s four months shy of the big birthday.  He’s doing so great and I appreciate those who keep asking about him and praying for him.  He’s trying to get up on all fours and can do it for a split second before he plops back down.  It’s hard to get that big ol’ tummy off the ground!  In December, he got some special orthopedic pants that he wears the majority of his wake time.  Most Down Syndrome kids have hypotonia, or low muscle tone, so the tendency is for them to tire quickly, develop more slowly and thus, crawl/walk later.  On top of that, they are EXTREMELY flexible…Seffy is no different!  The shorts help hold his legs in so they don’t get used to turning out when he’s laying down, trying to crawl, etc. (think spandex shorts with some wiggle room that are sewn together at the inseam down to the knee).  They don’t bother him at all and I can tell his hips/legs are turning in a bit more and strengthening as they should be.  Seth’s still such a good eater!  He loves anything we feed him and can even out-eat his three year old sister!
So do you want to know the sweetest thing he’s learned?  Occasionally, when Ella cries (for whatever reason) and Seth is close by, he looks at her and starts to frown.  Then he looks at one of us and sticks out the bottom lip, then back at her, and again at us, back at her, back to us…..all the while working up to a big cry.  It is the saddest, sweetest little cry for his sister!  We just all have to hug- Ella, Seth, us- pat them both and tell them everyone is okay.  And, once she’s done crying, he turns it off too.  How precious!  It’s so cute, that Joel and I actually want him to do it whenever she cries!  If we could get it on video, I know it would win the prize on America’s Funniest Home Videos.

Seth is very empathetic

So, 12 days until closing on both houses.  Please pray with us that all details are worked out and ready to go for closing on Jan 16th and that the move goes smoothly.  Praise God for this chapter of our life we’re opening and praise Him for this wonderful home we’re leaving.  Praise God that He is in control.
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Hi everyone!

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We’ve had a busy, busy weekend here –  Praise God, we got a contract on our house last week (it was only on the market for about 40 days- isn’t God good?)!  Joel and I were so excited and spent the last half of the week and the entire weekend searching and searching for our next house….we’ve hardly been with the kids, except Saturday morning.  We found two homes that we loved and finally decided on a fav……SO, we’re holding on and making a (prayerful) offer on the new house on Monday morning!  We’re praying all goes well and just as the Lord has directed every detail up to this point, we are certain He will orchestrate the move beautifully.

What's up folks?

Back to the kids….we DID get in on some fun Saturday morning at Ella’s good buddy Woods’ birthday party!  It was a donut breakfast party and there was plenty of sugar to be passed around.  Aunt Amy make brunch for the adults and we rolled out the door with warm hearts and full bellies.  After that we headed over to Candy Cane Lane…..the children’s Christmas party at church.  Ella saw lots of buddies and even got to pet a camel in the live nativity!  We put sprinkles on cookies and jumped in bounce houses and petted every live animal that came in line of site.  It was loads of fun for a three year old and even better for mom and dad to stand by and watch.  I got to visit with lots of my buddies and dad was the perfect entertainer……he was in full control of both Ella AND Audrey for a few moments, to which Mariana and I would like to thank you, Joel!!!!!!!!!!!  Ella got in the car and announced that she needed some “Chick-A-Way.”  I did too.  But we’re buying a house…..and I’m decorating a house.  PBJs soon followed at home!

What about Seffy?  He’s got his first little cold- the poor puddin!  Well, he is human after all (although his Mimi insists he’s an angel in the flesh), so he’s going to get sick some time.  I’m doing all the baby-can’t-take-cold-medicine stuff: vaporizer, nose sucker, lots of fluids.  As you an see from the pic, he’s not really been affected.  Mr. Happy is still his usual, jolly self!  He’s still progressing right on track with his peer group and Joel and I remain encouraged by that.  All glory goes to the Lord!

So now I’m freaking out a little bit because come Monday morning, it will be only 10 days until Christmas.  I have no gifts for the kids.  They need nothing, but they need something to open up Christmas morning!  After all, Ella is just now coming around to Santa (check December this time last year- Santa photo was traumatic)….he’s got to come through this year.  I sure hope Toys R Us isn’t out of baby Ariel dolls, or I’m up the creek.  And she wants cars and trucks because Woods got some for his birthday.  We’ll see what Santa can come up with.  Seffy is going to open up some new pajamas (I have a thing for baby pajamas…..I have to stop myself from buying every footie jammies that I see in his size…..I LOVE FOOTIE PAJAMAS)!  Balls, trucks, baby boy stuff for him too.  You can’t go wrong buying for babies!  Joel and I are buying each other a house for Christmas.  Stay tuned for pics!

Merry Christmas is around the corner………….!

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Welcome Baby Lauren!

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We are excited to announce the arrival of Miss Lauren Elyse
Trott!!!!! She was an early Christmas present to mommy and daddy and
the rest of the world, as she came right in the middle of Thanksgiving
dinner at 3:43 on November 27th at 4 lb, 13 oz and 17.5 inches tall!
Seth is particularly excited about Miss Lauren’s arrival as she too is
a very special little lady born with Down Syndrome that lives right
here in our same city! (The kids’ parents already have great plans
for their friendship as we all grow together……..) We are so
blessed to share this journey with another family who loves God well
and desires to give Him all praise and honor for the great things that
He has done in our lives.

For tons more pics of this pretty little
lady, as well as a little more to her story, check out Laren’s blog
at: http://www.caringbridge.org/visit/babytrott

THE LORD HAS DONE GREAT THINGS FOR US, AND WE ARE FILLED WITH JOY!
Psalm 126: 3
Congratulations Aaron and Leanne! We REJOICE with you in this perfect
gift!!!!

Great family
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A Year Ago Today

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I’ve got butterflies in my stomach as I sit down to write this……A
year ago today, I sat in the same cozy chair that I’m in right now in
my living room and answered the phone. It was the nurse from my OBGYN
who called to let me know the results of my quad screen.

“1 in 1000 chance of neural tube defects, (Great!), 1 in 1000 chance
of spinabifida, (Wonderful)……{sigh over the phone}……and a 1 in
43 chance for Down Syndrome.”

“Ummm, what? Could you say that…did you mean…..what did you say
again?” {My heart was in my throat, beating faster than ever
before….}

“The quad screen tested a 1 in 43 chance for your baby to have Down
Syndrome….what we’re going to want to do now is get you in for an
ultrasound as soon as possible. Hold on while I call down to see when
we can work you in. Don’t worry, Emily. These tests are wrong 90% of
the time.”

Seth says there's nothing to fear

Fear. Panic. Crying. Sobbing. Weeping. I have to talk to Joel.
This is a mistake. This isn’t happening. This is crazy. Things like
this don’t happen to me- it happens to someone else. Why would God
let this happen? We serve in our church week after week. We’re good
people. We do all the right things and try to teach our daughter the
same. Our kids are supposed to grow up to really make an impact in
this world with their educations and willingness to serve God and love
others. This wasn’t in my plan- when I dreamed of how my life would
go, this wasn’t even a thought. How am I supposed to sleep until I
know for sure that my baby is okay? It’s okay- I just know this has
to be a mistake. Why did I even take that stupid test to begin with
when the results are so often wrong? Who can I call? I don’t know
anyone else who’s had this happen…..or do I and people just don’t
mention it? I need to talk to God- if I pray hard enough- if I beg
Him, this will go away. He always works things out for me, so He’ll
take this burden off us.

You know how it turned out. Seth.

Joy.  Laughter.  Peace.

We’ve got him. We’re living with Down Syndrome every day. And you know what? It’s not scary. It’s not bad. It wasn’t a curse for something we did wrong. It was God’s plan for our lives.

It was who God created Seth to be. We’re still
serving in our church week after week because God is faithful and
deserves our honor and praise. We’re teaching both Seth and Ella to
love God that way. Seth will grow up to make an impact on this world-
in fact, he already has. This wasn’t how I planned my life- it’s way
sweeter with Seth in it. I sleep great at night because we’re in the
middle of God’s plan for us. Seth wasn’t a mistake. I’m glad I took
the test because it forced me to rely on God a whole lot more than I
did before. I know a lot of people who are now walking this road with
me and their precious, perfect little children. And I still need to
talk to God- every day, every hour, every minute. If I pray hard
enough, He’ll continue to lead my heart. He always works things out
for me for the good, and Seth is proof of that.

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Thank You Chris & Becky!!!!

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Thanks to the Kisers, Ella has a new “Giant Ariel” and nightgown to match.  She LOOOOOOOVES them.  Chris & Becky arrived Friday night, bearing gifts, and it’s been pulling teeth to get her out of the nightgown.  “Giant Ariel” sits with her during meals, on the couch and even on the vanity in the bathroom while Ella takes a bath!  Thanks a hundred times over to Chris & Becky for the gifts, but more importantly, for loving our kids like your own.  WE LOVE YOU!!!
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Never Say Never

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So….when I was a DINK (double income no kids), I swore I would NEVER
buy clothes for MY kids that had Disney characters or cartoons or
anything like that on them! And I’d most certainly never shop Wal-
Mart for kids clothes when there are so many BETTER options like
GapKids, Gymboree, Macy’s…..you get my drift…..NEVER SAY NEVER!

Ella girl will be 3 on November 28th…..and I’m being reminded
several times a day by the party girl! Ella LOVES Ariel and all
things Disney princess and I know nothing would make her heart soar
more than if she were to open up long-sleeved Ariel pjs or a new t-
shirt for her bday. Our current Ariel nightgown is literally hanging
by a few threads, but no matter the time of day, she peels off her
clothes and puts it on the minute it pops out of the dryer. So today,
I found myself holding my breath while I quickly, yet carefully,
looked through every rack of pajamas and t-shirts at Wal-Mart to try
to find either an Ariel t-shirt or nightgown or pj’s for my precious
little three year old. I think I even started praying aloud…..”God
please have her size, please Lord! She NEEDS these!” Well, today
wasn’t my day- I found Ariel pj’s in size 18 months and a t-shirt in
5T, but nothing in 3T…..grandmothers, be on alert!!!

My how things change. I’m thankful for Wal-Mart and cheap cartoon
clothes….because there’s nothing my preschooler likes better and
that just makes momma smile!

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A Day at the Farm

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The kids and I went to Old MacDonald’s Farm today with Nana and had a blast!  We stayed out
there for 3 and a half hours and the time flew because we were
constantly busy!  Summary of activities:
-As soon as we arrived, Ella saw “pie-corn” (popcorn) and had to have a snack.  We sat down at the picnic tables and had juice and pie-corn.
-Ella grabbed the feed sack and went tearing off to the pond to feed ducks/peacocks/emu.  Got almost too close to the Emu and that dude was scary, but she didn’t bat an eye.
-Buses (and then more) of kids arrived from HISD.
-Fed sheep and goats; said hi to the llama from a distance.
-Ella ran after the deer to feed them and a big deer snatched the feed sack
out of her hands, knocked her over and went to town on it- we tried to
tear it away while Ella’s eyes were as big as saucers……I got all of
it on video.
-Trip to the hand washing station.
-Ella skipped over the horses first time around.
-She petted the cow, pigs, more sheep and got in the pen with rabbits to
chase them around.  Then picked up a small pellet- “Mommy, what
is dis?”  Put it down Ella- that’s poo poo.
-School kids came around Ella and the rabbits- “These are MY rabbits!!!!” and turned over their food bowl.
-Another trip to the hand washing station. (see comment about pellets)
-Back down the line of animals again and Ella petted the horses this time, but would not ride them.
-Waved to kids on the train- Ella do you want to ride the train?  “Mmmm- maybe next time!”
-Hand washing.
-Picnic lunch where BEES circled our food; wind picked up the table cloth and
blew it around.  Ella exclaimed, “Our picnic is ruined!”
-Running and sliding and swinging and playing in the sand pile.
-Shook sand out of every piece of clothing on Ella.
-Ella, Nana and 2 little kids played tether ball.  Yes, it was fun to watch.
-Swarms of kids lined up to ride the horses and train, of which Ella will ride neither.
-Another round of animal browsing and we played in the big pile of hay in the barn.
-Hand washing.
-Mom promises candy to Ella if she pets the horse who is wearing “a necklace
and a seat.”  Ella is hesitant.  Pappy is a cowboy and he rides
horses…..Mom sneakily places Ella on top of “Cocoa” the horse and she
instantly smiles.  “I’m a big girl because I’m riding the horse!”
-Ella won’t get off the horse.
-Let’s go get Nana to take a picture of Ella on the horse!  “I don’t want to!”
-Ella runs away from mom…..consequences are threatened.
-Everyone is back at the horse corral and Nana is taking pics of Ella on the horse- this time it’s Snickers.
-Ella rides through the corral over and over.  “Mommy I need to T-T!”
-Trip to the bathroom.
-Hand washing.
-More playground equipment, chasing a ferret around the picnic tables, hand washing and another round of pie-corn and
cold coke.
-Promises of treats and candy if she rode the train.  Little kids swarm around us
as we get on the train and as we ride around we are all talking about
the things we did at the farm.  I point out the sand pile and the kid
in front said, “I played on that and the kids wouldn’t share the
trucks.”  Ella retorted, “Sometimes kids don’t want to share….then
they get consequences.”
-Look kids- say bye-bye to the horses
and Ella turns around to tell the kids behind us, “I’m a big girl
because I ride the horse-nees!”
-Load them up and go home as Ella polishes off her second bag of pie-corn on the ride home.
-Head-to-toe washing.

FUN FUN FUN!  Lots of pics and video……just wished our Pappy and Daddy could have come too!

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New Ears!

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Seffy has new ears!  He did great through surgery- the doctor was very pleased.  He scoped Seth's lungs and found narrower air passages- not a surprise considering the DS.  However, both his ears and lungs are now thriving, healthy and "pink" according to the doc.  Praise the Lord!  We were at the hospital at 6:15 for pre-op stuff with a bunch of little "yellow" (see pic below) toddlers and babies…..couldn't decide if they looked more like karate ninjas or convicts.  Surgery started at 8:45 yesterday morning and we were home by 11:30.

I really think this has opened up a new world to him….I can tell by the way he looks at me and seems to be more alert/in-tune with what's going on in the room.  He's also babbling a lot more, and it's just been a day!  I'm so glad our little puddin' can hear!

God sent us an unexpected blessing yesterday morning.  During surgery, we met Noah, a PRECIOUS little three-year-old boy with DS, and his parents.  Joel and I spotted him and couldn't help but rush over to meet him.  His little eyes just danced as he entertained us with his bubbling personality!  We were able to connect with his mom and dad, who gave us a lot of good information and will be a great resource for us.  I love those unexpected surprises- thanks, Lord!

Ella is on the mend, but she was SIIIIIIIICK!  I tell you, we feel like we've been through the ringer over here!  Seth and Ella both napped yesterday afternoon for 4 hours, which means I got to sleep for 2.  We're all still low on energy (except for Mr New Ears) and trying to recover.  Our plan this weekend is to hire out as many household chores as possible to get the house ready for the market next week.  Big stuff!!!  Thanks for praying and asking about us.  Thank you, Lord, for always being faithful- He is our constant when life continues to change.

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Weekend Update

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Garage sale all day Saturday morning and then Joel and I threw up fairly consistently from midnight to 6 am on Sunday morning.  We are thinking about sending a thank you note to Whataburger, as that’s the only thing we can trace it back to.  PTL, neither of the kids got sick and no one we know is sick…..so it had to be something we ate, right? UPDATE: ELLA IS NOW SICK. We think it was indeed a bug. Pray that Seth avoids it.

We are thankful when everyone is healthy

MUCHOS GRACIAS to Nana for coming to help with the babies, cleaning, laundry, etc.  It would have been so hard to make it through all of that without help.  The thought of buttering a waffle for Ella still makes my stomach turn flips and I just praise God that I didn’t have to do it.  Really and truly, I felt that bad.
Here are some ways we can praise the Lord through the weekend, though it ended poorly:
-Baby weight is offically gone, thanks to E. coli!
-The kids didn’t get sick.
-Nana took care of the kids so we could sleep.
-We made $168 at our garage sale on Saturday.
-All closets, drawers, the pantry and attic are cleaned out and ready to be moved.
The MOST important part of this post is to ask for your prayers for Seth on Tuesday morning at 8:15.  He’ll have a day surgery to have tubes placed in his ears.  As Nana says, “Seffy is getting new ears on Tuesday!”  Pray all goes well and that surgery is routine.  Pray they can find a vein for the IV with no problems (last surgery, he had been poked all over), and pray that he wakes up without pain and nausea.  Pray for the doctor who performs the surgery- he’ll also being scoping his lungs to check his air passages before we get into cold/flu season.  The reason is that DS kids often have smaller, more constricted air passages, and the scope will give the doc a better idea of his passages when they’re healthy, should he need to prescribe breathing treatments or something else for the fall.  Pray against anxiety for mom and dad.  Thank you, thank you for your prayers and concern for us.  It is so humbling and so encouraging to me and Joel that you care so much.  We’ll let you know about “new ears” tomorrow!
Let everything that has breath, praise the Lord!  Em
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We Was Robbed!!!!!

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Well, as the novel continues to write itself, here's another chapter:  our house was broken into last week and we were robbed.  Yeah, I know, I could hardly believe it myself.  Quick synopsis:  I left the house for 15 minutes with the kids to drive through McDonald's and came home to some suspicious activity….saw the guy in our neighborhood as I left and as I drove back into the area….only he was carrying a black briefcase on the was out.  My intuition said, "He just stole something- guess I should get a good look in case I have to give a description."  10 minutes later, I did just that with the police.

It's just stuff.  All he took ("he" being the delinquent teenage boy) was our laptop, my iPhone and our iPod.  Didn't mess anything up in the house- apparently, just after the Apple products.  Well, he DID take more than stuff- including my feelings of "I love this house!" and intangibles like privacy, etc.  Joel and I are now working to get the house on the market ASAP.  It was the straw that broke the camel's back.  We'd been discussing it for a while and planned to live here for only 5 years anyway- it's been 4.5.  The burbs are looking pretty good right about now……Huge garage sale this Saturday morning at our place and a couple of neighbors across the street- come if you want clothes, shoes, rejected baby toys/products, etc!!!!!

Oh, and for the love, get an alarm system in your house.  For peace of mind, if nothing else!

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