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Pray for Seth

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We took Seth to the ENT on Monday and an ear infection in his left ear hasn’t cleared up after months of drops and treatments. (It’s a”chronic” ear infection.) So, he’s going to get a new set of tubes on Friday morning at 9am- adenoids taken out also to help with his breathing and sleep apnea- and a weekend stay at the hospital where they’re going to keep him on an IV to run strong antibiotics through his system to try to clear the ear infection once and for all.  What’s more, the ENT said, “Do me a favor and keep him out of the church nursery for a while. We’ve got to keep him well.” So! That kind of changes the way we’ll be doing things at church (guess he’ll have to learn to take notes sooner than later).

He did great on his birthday given his condition.

Many children with Down Syndrome have compromised immune systems, and we’re finding that Seth is no different. When they catch a cold or virus, it stays in their bodies longer due to smaller airways and nasal passages. That seems to be the case for Seth- and now it is settling in his nose and ears, which will ultimately affect his hearing, speech, etc. What a reminder of how intricately the Lord has knit us together!  Joel and I keep saying that it could be so much worse- it’s just a season in life and we’d rather it be his ears than something even more complicated. However, I feel anxious about putting him in the hospital for the weekend (thinking about all the germs, flu, etc), but according to the doctor, we really have no choice with the ear thing.  Please just pray with me protection over him during anesthesia and surgery- a full recovery- complete healing and restoration of hearing in both ears- rest for us while we are in the hospital for however long it will be- fun and peace for Ella girl while we’re away for a while- and peace for a nervous/weary momma. I know the Lord is in full control~ how many times do I preach that to other people? And how many times will I continue to be tested in it?  It’s just so hard some times to keep that top of mind when you are literally walking through the trial! I’m reminded of this promise the Lord revealed to me when I was pregnant with him: “And the God of all grace, who called you to his eternal glory in Christ, after you have suffered a little while, will himself restore you and make you strong, firm and steadfast. To Him be the power forever and ever. Amen!” ~1 Peter 5:10

I will be anxious for nothing- I will pray without ceasing- in everything, I will give thanks! Thanks for praying for us….we will keep the blog updated.

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Happy First Birthday, Seth!!

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Momma loves this little guy

Dear Seth,

We celebrated your first birthday this weekend with all of your family and a few friends.  More than just a birthday party, we celebrated your life.  You’ll never know what a blessing you are to us.  If only we’d known how good this year would be, there would have been no doubts, no fears, no worries.

I knew you were special the minute I laid eyes on you, and that was something I’d prayed and asked the Lord for.  Nobody had to say a word to me- I announced to everyone in the delivery room that I knew you were special and they all silently nodded.  My doctor said you were sent to the right parents for sure.  Everyone in the delivery room handled you like a china doll- and there wasn’t a dry eye in the room, but there were a lot of smiles too.   All your daddy could say was, “He’s a good boy.  He’s a good boy, momma.”  The doctors told us you were really strong and a healthy boy.  You had a good cry, just like Ella did when she arrived.  The next thing I said was that your name would be Seth Joel- which means chosen by God and our doctor said he could think of nothing more fitting.  Then I proclaimed the truth- “Blessed be the name of the Lord!” with tears streaming down my face and my chin quivering.

I’ll never forget the feeling I had when the nurse handed you to me, just minutes after you were born.  She told me that God had special plans for your life, and she was certainly right.  You were wrapped up so warm with a soft little hat on your head- those beautiful blue eyes of yours were wide open, taking everything in.  I held you so close and started to talk softly to you- telling you how beautiful you were and how excited we were to finally have you.  You cooed right to me- and immediately, I knew we were going to be okay.  You see, I fell in love with you in that moment….your daddy did too.  I sang to you a little bit, which you were already accustomed to and still love.  Then one by one, as we introduced you to your big sister Ella, your Mimi and Poppa, Nanna and Pappy and aunts and uncles, they fell in love with you too.

You are a special boy, Seth.  We love you just as much as we love our Ella girl- you are both our favorites.  Ella thinks you are pretty special too.  She calls you names like, “Baby Joy,” “Seffy-too-tiger” and “Wookey.”  She came to pick you up at the hospital when you were born and couldn’t wait to hold you…she still talks about that day.  She’s mommy’s big helper and she’s also your helper too, Seth.  We’ve talked about how she will always take care of you and teach you new things; sure, you may fuss at each other every now and then, but she loves you so tenderly and always will.  I can see how God made you both so differently and how you will help take care of her, too.  You help Ella to slow down her pace a little bit- she’s learning to be patient, and can’t wait for you to learn to say her name.

You’ve taught me how to love better.  I’m not afraid of things that are “different” like I used to be.  I find myself going out of my way to get in line at the grocery store with employees who are special too.  I am learning to cherish and appreciate the little things.  I am enjoying each day for what it brings more and more.  I see beauty in all kinds of faces, shapes, colors and smiles.  Your little arrival has softened me.  I am more compassionate and quicker to hold my tongue, less inclined to criticize.  I love your daddy more because you’re part of him, too.  He’s so proud of you, he could just pop sometimes.  You’re his first son, Seth…and I know that he wouldn’t trade you for all the boys in the world.

I love your smile and the way your eyes turn into little rainbows when you get excited to see me enter the room.  I love to hear you say, “Mama.”  I love how you get so tickled when we play “kissie-kissie” and I loved how you wave your arms when you get so excited about anything we’re doing together.  I love how you wrap your arms around my neck as tightly as possible and squeeze me with an “Mmmmmm” whenever we hug each other.  I loved it the first time you crawled, slowly but steadily, right into my lap because you just wanted to be with me.  I love that you need me because, Seth, I need you too.

Seth Joel- chosen by Jehovah God.  You are a joy and a love to all who know you.  I am so proud of you.

I’ll love you forever- I’ll like you for always- as long as I’m living, my baby you’ll be.

Love, Mommy

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Spread the Word to End the Word

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I’ve wanted to write about this for a while now…about a year or so, I guess.  I’ve tossed words around in my head to try to figure out the best way to say it and hesitated to even approach the subject for fear of being misunderstood, labeled or categorized as “an emotional mom.”  I can’t keep it in any longer, and March 31 gave me just the thumbs up I needed to get started.  So, here goes nothing:

On March 31, across the United States, people on college campuses, in high school cafeterias and workday offices have launched the “Spread the Word to End the Word” campaign. The goal: make people stop and think about their hurtful and disparaging use of the word “retard” or “retarded.”

Spread the Word to End the Word is raising the consciousness of society about the dehumanizing and hurtful effects of the R-word and urging people to resolve to stop using it as an insult, casual or intended.
Think about it.  How many times in your life have you used this word flippantly, certainly not meaning to hurt anyone’s feelings, but just as a figure of speech….slang?  I have.  Well, I did.  It’s amazing how quickly things can change.
You see, last December, I took a test that forever changed my feeling about this word.  A quadscreen came back with high odds of my baby being born with Down Syndrome.  That rocked our world.  Things got scary and perspective shifted.  One evening, my husband and I were watching TV and the comment left my lips, “Oh, that is SO ret….”
“Wait a minute, I can’t finish that word.”  A knowing glance from him indicated that it stung him just as badly as it did me.  After all, we’d spent all week googling the words “Down Syndrome” and found an overwhelming amount of information and family testimonials and beautiful, beautiful faces.

How 'bout a little respect?

That was the moment for us.  We agreed that whether or not our baby was born with DS, we’d gotten close enough to the reality of it that we could never, ever use that word again.  Not flippantly, not in slang or jest.  Not ever.
And you know where we are today- we have a beautiful, beautiful boy who was born with Down Syndrome.  And I won’t lie to tell you that it hits me like a slap in the face each and every time I hear the R-word.  It never gets easier and it’s not one of those things we can just brush under the rug…..
So now, I stand with the Special Olympics and thousands of families, friends and really, really cool people who choose to find a new r-word…..RESPECT.  It’s amazing that in a culture that strives to be politically correct (to a fault, it seems), this hasn’t been brought to the forefront of our culture until now.
Today, all I ask is that you would take a minute to examine your words- your conversations- your thoughts.  Have you used this word?  Is it part of your vocabulary?  Have you heard someone use it?  Can you boldly, yet gently, educate the person to its negative meaning?
It’s a tough thing to do- I’ve done it with friends, acquaintances and even strangers.  Try to offer them new ways to say things.  For example, if someone is using the phrase, “That is so retarded!”– give them other words such as silly, crazy, nonsense.  With regard to individuals with challenges, rather than labeling them a “retard” or “retarded,” use the words cognitively delayed or mentally disabled.
Take the high road with me on this one.  Be bold in standing up for those who are unable to stand up for themselves, and practically incapable of anything but love.
I cannot let this one go and I vow to do it for Seth, Lauren, Grady, Stephen, Ibby, Rachel, Zachary, Jessica, Noah, Abby, Carly, Kara and countless other precious, perfectly formed little children who need us to be their voice.  If we won’t, who will?
As Colossians 4:6 says, “Let your conversation be always full of grace, seasoned with salt, so that you may know how to answer everyone.”  Wow- what a reminder to me that I have a lot of seasoning to do in my own life!

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Video: Seth crawls!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

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I think this is pretty amazing!

Watch the tiger crawl!

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Random Thoughts….Belated Update!

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How many times do I sit down and think, “I should really post an update…but I’m too tired and once I start writing, I won’t want to stop.”  Here I am though- Ella is up to something upstairs and Seth is sleeping.  Let’s see how much I can update you in 5 minutes:

Seth and Daddy at the heart doctor appointment

-Seth had a cardiologist appointment two weeks ago today (thus the “coming out of sedation” picture on the blog earlier).  He was born with two small holes in his heart- better known as heart murmurs- a PDA and an ASD.  (All you cardiologists out there will know what I’m talking about!)  Anyway, they gave him some “happy juice” for a sedated echo to check out the little dude’s ticker and glory to God!!!, both holes are closed and everything is working well!  We praise God for this- and give Him all the credit for healing Seffy’s heart.  The cardiologist mentioned he has one small leaky valve- the “tricuspid valve” to be exact….and that we should come back in at age five for another look.  According to him and stuff we’ve read- it’s not a big deal at all and should never affect him long-term.  Thank you, Lord!

So happy that Ella is obeying so much better.

-Ella is responding well to discipline.  After working through Dobson’s “Strong-Willed Child” with a fine-toothed comb, I began to parent differently.  I know that each kid is unique and responds better to certain things, so with some trial and error, she no longer has me pulling out my hair and looking for the great escape route by the end of the day!  I’ve thrown in the towel on the clothes (she won’t wear them at home) and food (if you want to eat it, great- if not, we don’t care).  “Pick your battles!” say all the experts and while Joel and I truly thought we were picking our battles, it turns out we were still picking too many.  Anywho- I think we’re turning a corner here and the majority of our day together at home is pleasant- hec, it’s fun!  Another huge praise God!

-Seffy started crawling!  Can you believe it?  Therapists told us not to expect him to crawl until he was about 18 months old, but look who decided to do it in the last week of his 10th month!  Go, Seffy, Go!

-“Ma Ma Ma Ma Ma!!!”  are the sweetest words I’m hearing right now.  Yes, Seth is looking at me and saying “Mama” (or at least his form of it)- both daddy and Nanna agree with me that he knows what he’s saying and understands it is my name.  And they told me he wouldn’t start talking until he was two….

Baby sign language?  Yep.  We’re doing that too.  I sign several words to him:  eat, more, drink, thank you, in, out, play, please.  Guess which one he’s starting to sign?  EAT!  But of course!  At a whopping 20+ pounds, food is at the top of his list and he was quick to pick that one up.  The boy scarfed down two whole pancakes for dinner the other night without a drop hitting the floor, his chair or his bib.  Nice fine motor skills, brother!  Your OT is proud…and he’s just mastered his first sippy cup last night.  On to drinking from a straw….

-Cognitively, my therapists have told me that Seth is really smart.  I just can’t tell you how that makes my heart swell.  In one conversation, a therapist told me that one of the greatest misconceptions of children with DS is that they are not smart.  Quite they contrary, while they may learn differently from others and have some form of cognitive delay, they can be brilliant just like any other child.  “And this little guy,” raved the OT, “is at the top of the curve.  He is one smart cookie.”  There are no words.

-Joel made it home from his tour-de-Europe.  Amsterdam, London and Paris- what a tough life!  He would call from Paris and rave over the crepes, while I was home eating PB&J.  Aw- I don’t begrudge him one minute of it- Joel works hard and the Lord is blessing him for it.  He had a great trip and brought home presents for me and the kids.  Thanks, daddy!

-Our Aussie friends, Jamie, Gillian and baby Violet (well…..Toddler Violet now) are coming in town for a visit April 19th through the 26th.  We can’t wait to see them as it’s been about 2 years since we were with them last.

-I joined a local group, “Moms of Kids with Down Syndrome” and found a neat group of women to walk through this journey with.  We laughed, exchanged stories, encouraged one another and just celebrated every little thing each of our kiddos can do.  There was a sweet spirit in the group and though I don’t think everyone was of the same faith, I felt that I could freely talk about the Lord and what He’s done in our life.  I see that this is part of my ministry and I will boldly accept the challenge.

-Our nephew Tate has a big walk for “Autism Now” this weekend.  While the kids and we won’t be able to join them in San Angelo for the big event, we’re pulling on our T-shirts and hitting the neighborhood for a good walk to support the awareness and research as it relates to helping kids affected by Autism.  We love you, Tate, and you are important to us!

Tate is holding Seth in this picture

-Ella loves to play “house” now and she’s always the mom, I’m the kid and Seth is called, “Baby Joy.”  I can think of nothing more appropriate.  Ella’s imagination is vivid and I’m starting to hear her sing when she’s playing by herself.  It is the most beautiful sound I’ve ever heard. She is a sweetheart big sister and enjoys finding ways to make Seth laugh and, of course, tell him what to do!  He’s thrilled to be around her most of the time.  They love wagon rides together around the neighborhood and a favorite game is for Ella to build a wall of pillows around Seth and see if he can escape.  According to his PT and OT, this is a GREAT game for his physical development.  Ella may just grow up to be a therapist!

-Sarah painted verses in both of the kids’ rooms.  They are perfect and I’ll post pictures soon!  Ella’s is Psalm 104:33- “I will sing to the Lord all my life.”  Seth’s is Exodus 15:2- “The Lord is my strength and my song.”  I LOVE walking in their rooms and seeing the Word of the Lord that we pray over their little lives.  Now if I can find something for their bathroom….”wash me and I will be whiter than snow???”

-I LOVE our new home and neighborhood and little town.  Everything about it feels like home to me.  I met the neighbors behind us, who are actively involved and on staff at a big church in town.  They have kids the same age as ours and are neat folks.  Another blessing!

That’s about all I have time for right now- we’re doing great!  Thanks for your interest in our family and thank you for letting me brag on Seth- I just can’t help it.  Joel and I commented just the other night- had we known how wonderful this little guy would be and how fascinating the journey, we would have had no anxiety or stress at his birth.  We would have just loved every minute of it as we did Ella’s.  BUT!  We see the purpose of the Lord….and we’re SO EXCITED to celebrate his first birthday just one month from today.  I can’t believe all he’s accomplished and all of the “statistics” and “odds” that he has beaten.  Every day is a blessing and every little thing he does, we celebrate!

Let everything that has breath, praise the Lord!


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World Down Syndrome Day

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TODAY, March 21st, 2009, World Down Syndrome Day is celebrated by families and friends across the globe to mark
the 50th anniversary of the publication of Professor Jerome Lejeune’s
discovery of the extra copy of chromosome 21 which causes Down
Now known as trisomy-21 because of the third copy of
the 21st chromosome, Down Syndrome was first described by the English
doctor, John Langdon Down, in 1866 but until Professor Lejeune’s
publication in 1959, the ultimate cause of Down Syndrome was unknown.

I’m thankful for this unique and precious chromosome 21 that makes our little Seth, and countless others, the precious, perfect gifts they are!  The Fun House is celebrating life today!!!!

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Two Videos: I can stand up! AND Ella is crazy!

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Seth is starting to pull up a little.  He enjoys it.  Don’t worry, we are working on crawling first.  Some who read this blog (you know who you are) would be very worried if I didn’t say that.

Ella has made up a signature saying and hand motion. I blame Emily for all of the crazy nicknames and erratic behavior. It sure is fun to watch though!

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Here I raise my Ebenezer

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Praise God for what He has done and for what is yet to come!

As you all know, we’ve just moved…..totally relocated.  New house, new surroundings, new shopping spots, everything is new!  Our perspective is yet again, renewed.  I’ve just got to tell you what the Lord has done….

About a month ago, I got an idea into my head that through our move, the Lord was going to reveal Himself to us in a major way.  The more I sought after that thought, I began to think that He was going to show us a sign- a major sign- that directly related to Down Syndrome.  A sign that would be confirmation for us that we did the right thing in moving, as Seth’s education and care were of high priority with the relocation.

I like my new neighborhood!

Stop right there.  Give me a second to explain my faith.  I have never relied on “signs and wonders” from God in exchange for my belief in Him.  Yes, He does them- He performs miracles every day.  But He doesn’t owe me that.  That’s not real faith- real faith is saying, “Lord, whatever may come in life- good or bad- whatever you choose to do or not to do- I believe in you and I will love you.”‘ That has always been my heart, and all the more in the past year as I’ve leaned into Him for my daily bread.  God doesn’t owe me a “sign.”  His grace is sufficient for me, and that grace, I don’t even deserve.

Back to the story.  Nonetheless, I really felt an urging from the Holy Spirit that a sign was on it’s way.  A bit skeptical myself, I didn’t share this with anyone!  I didn’t tell Joel or even my mom for that matter.  I just kept it to myself and wondered.  I would wake up in the night and wonder what on earth it could be….I’d imagine either the buyer of our home or the seller of our new home having a child with Down Syndrome.  I imagined a neighbor having a child with DS.  “Ok, God- that would be the ultimate!  A neighbor kid with DS.  What could be more obvious than that?”  My mind would go back and forth as to what it could be.  I finally resolved myself to just wait for it.

The week of the move arrived and I was getting excited…..about everything!  But I wanted to see what the Lord was going to do.  Closing day arrived and I started “fishing” in every conversation with every person at the title company.  Sure enough, in my conversation with our buyer and her agent, I found out that they were both full-time speech therapists.  Thanks to all of Seth’s therapies, we are now very familiar with the role speech therapy will have in his development, so we dove into conversation about it.  They knew by Seth’s pictures in our home that he had DS, they worked with DS kids every day!  

“Well, there you go!” I thought.  “Thanks, Lord.  That was a sweet little tidbit.  Not EXACTLY what I was thinking or hoping for, but okay.  After all, what was I thinking- a sign???”

After three hours of signing my name in every form imaginable and talking about a bunch of stuff that I didn’t really understand, we’d sold and bought a house.  With grandmothers furiously packing and taking care of the babies at home, Joel and I asked for the best local seafood recommendation and found ourselves enjoying shrimp gumbo and key lime pie for lunch.  Before the meal was over, I looked across the restaurant and saw a mom and her daughter enjoying lunch.  

“Huh!  What do you know?  The daughter has DS!  That’s neat.  Ok, Lord.  That was a little more what I was thinking.  That’s just sweet of you, Lord.”

I started to cry.  After all, I was exhausted, stressed, emotional, you name it!  And then I had to explain it all to Joel.  I told him what had been on my heart for the past month and how I didn’t say anything to him about it because I didn’t want him or anyone else to think I was crazy.  I told him about how I could just see myself eating lunch with Seth when he’s all grown up, just like that mom and her daughter.  I laughed at how they’d ordered fancy drinks with umbrellas in them and how we’d surely spoil him to death once our other kids were grown and gone.  Then I told Joel that secretly, I was thinking and hoping that one of our neighbors would have a kid with DS….that’s the “sign” that I was looking for, but the conversation at the title company and the family at the restaurant were good enough.  He agreed- it was sweet of the Lord to give me those two little tidbits.  Just a little something I could carry with me through the day and coming weeks- it was good enough for me!  I called my mother to relay all of the details.  She thought it was pretty neat too….

Moving day arrived.  With the help of a lot of really good friends, we loaded the moving truck and our cars like jigsaw puzzles and headed to the new house!  After ordering enough pizza to keep the worker bees buzzing, I pulled into the driveway.  I took a deep breath- this was home!  Our first day of a new chapter.

As I stepped out of the car, I looked into the cul-de-sac and saw a little boy dart out of his garage, bouncing a basketball and talking to his dad and big sister.  My heart jumped into my throat and I locked in on him.  Time froze for a moment.  I wanted him so badly to have Down Syndrome.  But….he looked so normal.  He was playing basketball!  He was running around and laughing…..just being a kid.  I studied him.  And suddenly, his face turned toward me and my heart stopped.  His eyes.  His eyes were little rainbows.  His eyes looked just like Seth’s eyes!  Could it be??  YES!  HE HAS DOWN SYNDROME!  THE KID WHO LIVES TWO HOUSES DOWN FROM US HAS DOWN SYNDROME!!! 

I couldn’t catch my breath.  I started to sob and ran into the house yelling for Joel.  He was trying to install the washer and dryer- his buddies were working all through the house.  But what do I care?  Look at what the Lord has done!

Breathless, I pieced it out as best as I could, “Joel!  Joel!  Joel!  He has DS!  The boy- (pointing) there’s a boy- in the cul-de-sac- he lives next to us- he has Down Syndrome Joel!  I’m sure of it!  He looked right at me!  His eyes are like Seth’s!!!!  I TOLD you Joel!  I TOLD you yesterday this was going to happen!  Didn’t I tell you!  Look what the Lord has done!  This is AMAZING!”

Joel was worn out.  But he couldn’t believe it.  “Yeah, you did tell me that yesterday.  Unbelievable!  Are you sure?  This is crazy!?”

What a moment.  Never in my life have I ever felt more like I was dead center in God’s will for my life.  Bull’s eye.  I am still in awe and it still moves me to tears to think of what He did for us- for me- in all of this.  

He’s the same God.  The same God that created the world.  The same God that spoke to Moses in a burning bush.  The same God that blew down the walls of Jericho with the sound of horns and shouts.  The same God that came to earth in the form of a man.  The same God that spoke a word and the oceans and winds obeyed.  The same God that at a word or a touch healed thousands.  The same God that died on a cross and rose from the dead- Hallelujah!  The same God of the Bible is REAL.  He is Emmanuel- still God with us!  He still speaks, He still works, He still moves.
For us, this is an Ebenezer– a stake in the ground.  A marker of our faithful journey with the Lord.  And I assure you, I would still have served Him and loved Him if He’d given me no sign at all.  Isn’t it incredible that He would give us that?  Praise God that He chose to speak to my soul and work in my heart to reveal Himself- His power- to me in that way.
I have reflected on it over and over.  And I will continue to go back to it for days, weeks, months and years to come.  That little boy?  He’s precious and so is his family.  I wiped off my tears and ran to meet them as quickly as I could.  They’ve been so generous to help us in any way- what a resource they will be to us- what support.  It’s overwhelming.  The Lord hand-picked this house for us- he picked our neighbors.  He allowed our home to be robbed last fall to set the entire move into motion.  I clearly see His purpose in that now.  He works all things for the good.
I don’t know your situation.  I’m sure it’s far different from mine.  I don’t know your hurt or your struggle, but everyone has something, and if you don’t, it’s just a matter of time.  Let me encourage you in saying that I know the Lord has master planned your life, just as He has mine.  He knows where the hurt started and He knows when it will end.  He knows the next chapter in your life.  He’s already got it figured out.  You just have to walk through it.  Walk every day clinging to Him for your daily bread, your strength.  Prayerfully consider your decisions and faithfully walk through the doors He’s opened for you.  He may never speak to you in the way that He did me….He may never speak to me in that way again either, and that’s okay.  I assure you that He’s interested in you.  He wants to be that involved in your life…..He wants you to recognize that every detail He’s orchestrated for His glory.  And if you don’t know Him personally, drop us a note so we can have the privilege of leading you to Him.
Life comes down to one thing:  Love God.  He loves you more than you can imagine.
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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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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

Psalm 126: 3
Congratulations Aaron and Leanne! We REJOICE with you in this perfect

Great family
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