Thursday, November 24, 2011

Grateful for it all...

When I see these photos (a huge thank you to my friend, Danielle Parker!), I am reminded why I do what I do and why God chose for us to have a larger family.

I count my blessings every day...
but sometimes, I get caught up in the craziness of everyday life with 5 kids going in 5 directions, that I don't truly appreciate what I have.

This big 4 year old is the reason I have a blog.  His arrival rocked our world in both a scary and profound way.  We brought him home from the NICU on Thanksgiving Day, 2007, and will forever be grateful to God for giving us John Michael.  In four years, I have so much more clarity, so much more purpose, and I continue to be amazed at the journey we're on, the people we meet, and the experiences we encounter as a result of having a child with Down syndrome.  Life forever changed the moment he was conceived, and yet, we didn't know to the degree that that would be so true.

We find greater joy in the simple things.  I was giddy over the fact that he could climb up this fence and hang on!

I feel extreme gratitude at the bond these 5 share with one another.

The kids were apprehensive when I announced that we were going to having a 5th child.  That announcement came on Thanksgiving Day 2009.  I cried when I told them and told our family.  The idea of it was overwhelming, but looking at Nic, my oldest, and Luke, my youngest, bonding makes the crazy moments all worth it.

Truly, I have been blessed beyond measure!

 Nic is an amazing big brother to both John Michael and Luke.  But, the bond he shares with John Michael is stronger than any I've ever experienced.  I know they will always be close.  Nic has always been service-oriented, but I think John Michael has opened him up to being accepting of all individuals who have a mental or physical disability.  Seeing Nic at the NDSC convention this summer dancing with a teenage girl with Ds brought huge tears to my eyes (and my friends around me!).  Before John Michael, I hate to say, I don't think he would have done that. 
My heart melts when I see these two hugging and being sweet with one another.  John Michael is becoming a very good big brother and is enjoying his role.

Luke, Luke, Luke...  all boy... all love...
You better be sweet when I'm old and you're still in high school.  LOL!

I  LOVE this image!  Two years ago we were thrilled that John Michael was walking more steady.  Today, we cannot keep up with his running.  Luke loves to play "Follow the Leader"...

"I'm gonna get you..."

You girls have the biggest hearts for John Michael.  I don't know yet what you'll "be" when you grow up, but I already know that having John Michael as a little brother has already shaped you into compassionate, open-minded girls with a heart for serving those in need.  That's HUGE!

My ROCK!  My sweet husband, Doug, of 17 years.  I cannot imagine life without him.  These 5 kids give us a serious run for our money, drain our energy, and yet, fill us with pride and love that makes it all worth it.

My favorite people in the whole wide world!

I leave you with a few more photos.  Ring Around the Rosie is a favorite  :-)
We all fall down!

Sweet Luke... I could eat him up!

John Michael, you fill my heart each day with more love and pride and hope and joy...  LOVE you to the moon and back, little man.

 A Happy and Blessed Thanksgiving to you all.

  I know you're out there and reading... Won't you leave some blog comment love  :-)

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  1. Yes, I will leave some blog love! Lots of it! I love siblings. They are changing the world for our feisty children with Down syndrome. What a gift it is to have children!

  2. happy thanksgiving my friend, so much to be thankful for. I also think I missed JM's birthday so happy birthday big boy with lots of louisiana hugs!!!

    You family is growing so fast (seems like Iv'e "known" you forever:))

  3. You have a beautiful family, no doubt. :) As I have shared with you before, I was never sad or mad, etc. with the birth of River, but I know that he has really enriched my daughters life in a way I could not truly glimpse pre River. And, she has also enriched his life. The bond is so beautiful! I still hold out hope that I will be able to have more children someday, I would love to have a large family like yours. :)

  4. I LOVE your family to the moon and back too! I'm so blessed to have you in my life. Happy Thanksgiving, Crumley family!

  5. So beautiful pics! Happy Thanksgiving!

  6. Monica...your pictures really say what's in your heart but your words add another beautiful dimension. You are so very blessed!!! What a gorgeous, vibrant, amazing family you have and all the lives your children will touch (and already do) are humbling. Grateful you are sharing your journey with the web world. And, I appreciate that running picture so much! It's beautiful to see Luke try to catch his big brother. :)

  7. Great pictures and beautiful thoughts! Hope you had a wonderful Thanksgiving!

  8. What a beautiful family and blog. I so wish everyone could see this story, Monica. This is what life is meant to be for us: full of family, love, joy and triumph through challenges no matter what. May each Thanksgiving be a blessing to you in a special way.

  9. Beautiful and so sweet, Monica. My favorite parts were about Luke fitting in to your family. I remember your fear...and then experienced it myself! How blessed are we?! And, of course the JM pics...LOVE him!!!
    Great post! Happy Thanksgiving!

  10. Beautiful pictures of a beautiful family!

  11. Awesome Post and the pictures just capture the moments so perfectly!

  12. Monica..... these are gorgeous pictures of your gorgeous family! I loved this post.... could feel the love bursting out from you as you wrote it! I am so very glad that I met you.... another blessing this extra chromosome of our boys brought! :)

  13. I love your little red head among all the blondes! JM is as adorable as ever!

  14. Brings tears to my eyes, you all look great, wauw...
    Love from Holland, Maud and the guys x