Tuesday, November 24, 2009

John Michael's 2nd Birthday Party

What an amazingly fun afternoon! We had 40 friends, about 1/2 children, help us celebrate John Michael's 2nd birthday this past Sunday. I know... the rule of thumb is one guest per the child's year of age. Well, John Michael has way more than 2 friends! That extra 21st chromosome has translated into so much more than any book will tell you. We have added more than 8 new families to our circle of friends this year (which equals lots of people when you add all the sibs, too!)

Here, John Michael actually blew out his first candle ever. He successfully blew out the #2 candle, but I helped with the other two smaller ones.

We had a diverse age group of children from 9 months to 13 years old and everything inbetween. Having 8 kids here age 2 and under with Ds, I decided to hire one of the music therapists to entertain the younger set. I think every one of John Michael's buddies gets music therapy, so it was great that they were all familiar with the songs and playing with the instruments. The older kids watched "Up" in our "garage-turned-movie theater".

John Michael also got to meet his new buddy, Christopher. The moment Christopher came in, he went right up to the music therapist and started playing along with everyone. I love his enthusiasm and infectious smile! John Michael really likes his new buddy, too, as you can see in the photo. At first glance, they could totally be brothers. So cute!

Here, Gracie and Gabby are enjoying tug-of-war with the ribbons. John Michael had so much fun opening his presents and is still discovering how everything works.


My blog will be quiet for the remainder of the week so I can spend time with the family UNPLUGGED!
Posted by Picasa

Wednesday, November 18, 2009

NICU Days -- Wordy(less) Wednesday

Our flaccid, newly born John Michael, just minutes old. A few minutes after this photo was taken, Doug and I were given the life-altering news... "It looks like your baby has Down syndrome." November 14, 2007

Day 5 in the NICU after John Michael was born. It took five days before I was allowed to hold him and for him to try to take 2 ounces. He kept falling asleep, so he took the rest through a tube.

A heavenly moment for me, filled with tears of love and joy and fear.

Oma Crumley (Doug's mom) holding her 5th grandchild just after I fed him his first bottle. All those wires and cords bring back some very difficult moments.

I love this photo. A sweet smile and it reminds me of how today he's always signing "more" when he's enjoying something and doesn't want it to end. Here he just had his canula removed and his cheeks are red from the tape being removed.

November 22, 2007. Thanksgiving Day! What an immense blessing to bring our baby home on Thanksgiving Day. Here, Daddy and John Michael, wearing his going home outfit, are waiting to be discharged. Doug and I were both nervous, but trusted in God's providence that all would be OK and that He knew better than we.

I so want to go back to that scared couple 2 years ago and tell them that it'll all be OK. It'll be more than OK! His siblings will adore him and more friends and wonderful people will fill their lives than they could ever imagine. I just wish I could've known all that then.

I have a new friend, Amy, expecting her first baby in early December. Her baby girl has Down syndrome and Amy has been so brave while getting to know some of us before her baby is born.

Dear Amy, I want you to know what we parents already know... It's going to be more than OK. Your baby girl is so lucky to have you and I can't wait to meet her.

OK, tears are falling now... and my Wordless Wednesday has turned into a Wordy Wednesday!

Posted by Picasa

Monday, November 16, 2009

The Year of New Friends

(click to enlarge)

John Michael turned 2 this past Saturday.

Sadly, it was such a busy day (and weekend) that I only spent about 45 minutes with him on his actual birthday. We'll make it up to him next weekend and have photos, too.

Given that his birthday came and went without fanfare, I wanted to reflect on the incredible year we've just had since John Michael turned 1.

In just 12 months, John Michael (and I) has made more friends than I ever imagined. Our "awakening" began when we had our first get-together in East Portal Park. We planned to meet Jennifer and Joaquin and their family and some other moms and kids that would come. We never imagined that this casual gathering would lead to many friendships and continues to grow.

This past year I've posted many photos of our kids together at parks, in our homes, at a birthday party, a baby shower, at the NDSC Convention and most recently, the Step Up for Down Syndrome walk. Most of us moms are bloggers, which makes it fun and interesting as well.

I just want to acknowlege all the wonderful moms who I count among my new friends this year. Local friends include Jennifer & Joaquin, Lisa & Sheridan, Sheree & Gabby, Jonna & Gracie, Cori & Joey, Gina & Christian, Susan & Christopher, Lisa & Jase and Amy and her soon-to-be born baby girl. I had the pleasure of meeting even more moms and their sweet children at the NDSC Convention this summer. Thanks to Facebook, blogging and the internet, there are too many to count!

Thank you for making this The Year of New Friends!

Posted by Picasa

Wednesday, November 11, 2009

Wordless Weds -- John Michael, the Artist and Happy Veteran's Day

Today, I want to share with you John Michael's newest masterpiece. Big sister, Anna, is being an incredible helper this morning and keeping him occupied while I get ready for music therapy. She sat John Michael down at his little table with paper and colored pencils and he got to work. The top picture is his first masterpiece, but because the colors are so light for scanning, Anna gave him markers to make a second masterpiece.

I love the colors and movement. I call it Freedom (of expression). :-)

I also want to say Happy Veteran's Day to all the men and women who have served our country, but especially to my brother-in-law, US Army Capt. John Paul Crumley who recently came back from a 15 month tour of duty in Iraq. He and his family are now in Missouri. We miss you guys!
Posted by Picasa

Friday, November 6, 2009

Name Tag Game

Jennifer of Three's A Charm tagged me with the "Name Tag" game. I'm supposed to explain why I chose the names I did for our kids, so here goes...

From oldest to youngest:

Nicolas Frans: My parents are immigrants from Germany and Doug's mom is from Holland, while his dad, from Tennessee, has German and Irish roots. I wanted a strong name for our firstborn and really liked the name, Nicholas, but the "h" didn't seem to fit in with our heritage. I liked how Nicolas Cage spelled his name, it looks great on the silver screen, so I copied the spelling, which seemed more Dutch than American. The German spelling, Nickolaus, was too different for me, so we stuck with Nicolas. Frans is Nic's middle name, named after Doug's grandfather from Holland who died when Doug's mom was just a teen. Although he never met his grandfather, he bears a striking resemblance to him from a certain photo. Doug wanted to honor his Opa Frans with a middle name for our son.

Anna Marie: My dad's mother's name was Anna Jaekel and I was given her name as my middle name, although my parents Americanized it to Ann. I'd always loved the name as it is timeless and classic. The middle name, Marie, is for three people. First, Doug's mom's "real name" is Maria, so we honored her with a form of the name. Then, my grandmother from Germany, Else Oldenburg, had three middle names, with Marie being one of them. Finally, my dear Aunt Marie from Mississippi, who married one of my dad's brothers, was the only aunt I had in the States. They lived only a couple miles from the home I grew up in and I wanted to honor her for passing on her Catholic faith to me.

Greta Marie: I used to work for the Air Resources Board (State of Calif) and at least once a week, we'd walk to a great cafe called "Greta's Cafe." Also, the mom of my college roommate had a little schnauzer named Greta. I'd always loved the name and it has German and Irish roots. I have an aunt in Germany named Gretel, which was a little too German for us and Gretchen was more cutesie, so we chose Greta. With her shiny red hair, she really looks like a Greta. The middle name just sounded right, so nothing very creative there.

John Michael: I've posted about his name before, but it's been a while. Doug's brother's name is John Paul and my brother's name is Michael, so we melded the names together to created John Michael. I love the sound together, not separated. He's not a Johnny, or a John, or a John John, or Michael... he's John Michael. Before he was born, John Michael was "Thomas" up until the last few weeks. I love the name Thomas, but somehow it didn't feel right for this baby. John means "God's grace" and Michael means "one who is like God." With strong names like that, it totally fits our little guy who shows us daily his strength and love and grace.

Now I tag: Darlena from the Lehnick Family

Sharon from Brennan's Beginnings

and Chris from Mothering by the Seat of my Pants

Posted by Picasa

Tuesday, November 3, 2009

Oh, Play Doh!

Greta was playing with Play Doh, so I thought I'd see what the little Mr. would do with it.

At first, he didn't want to touch it. Then, I made "spaghetti" and "worms" with it and taught him how to roll it with the rolling pin.

Shortly after, I introduced the wavy cutter and he was sort of getting it.

I was so proud of him for NOT eating the Play Doh. And then it happened...

He took a bite out of one of the "worms" and it was over. Fortunately, the stuff is non-toxic and tastes horrible, so hopefully that will motivate him not to eat it next time.

Has anyone else tried Play Doh?

Posted by Picasa