Saturday, July 25, 2009

Fun at the Park

6 What are your thoughts?
We have had a couple of fun days! Now that Andy is on vacation, the fun never ends!

On Wednesday we started VBS, and Ellie had a blast. Yesterday, she announced she was bored, so while Nichole slept and daddy worked on some homework, her and I went to the pool! For the first time this summer I should add. We got wet, went down the water slide, and jumped in the water. It was great.
To top it off, when Nichole went to bed, Ellie got to stay up late and we had a family movie night. We watched Wall-E, and even though it is not as great as Bolt, it was family fun.
Then today, as Ellie asked, what are we doing today? We decided why not drive out of town to a park we have heard is awesome! The plan for lunch would be to stop at McDonald's (Old MacDonald according to Ellie) and have lunch and play in the play place. Can life be any better when you are four?

The park was amazing! And invitation to imagination, without a doubt. It sure made me wish I could be four again and play with Ellie. there are many stories to play in that place, many adventures to have.

It will be fun when Nichole can walk. She did really great considering she got tired. But, she could swing and slide. She also did some walking (holding on to us of course). But, I think Nichole had fun too :)

Saturday, July 11, 2009

Growing up with a sibling with Down syndrome

4 What are your thoughts?
When I was pregnant with Nichole, I would find myself daydreaming about the future. Ellie and Nichole would only be two years apart, and I always pictured them as being best friends. I imagined them walking the halls of their school together, having friends in common, and maybe even chosing to room together in college. When Nichole was born, I had to face the fact that my dreams might be different. We do not know what the future holds for Nichole, we do not know how much she will be able to do and how much she will surprise us.

The truth is that many of my dreams have changed. Some dreams I have had to grieve; some dreams are new, different, and in some ways even deeper.

Last week as we were walking we saw a little girl that is younger than Nichole. She can walk and say some words. Ellie commented that her sister Nichole cannot do that, so we talked about the fact that Nichole might just take a little bit longer to do things. I wondered how Ellie felt about this, so I asked her, "If you could choose anyone to be your brother or sister, anyone in the world...who would you choose?" She smiled and said, "I would choose Nichole, I would not want anybody else to be my sister, I love her so much." She reached over and held Nichole's hand, pulled her close and gave her a hug and a kiss.

Ellie is very little, and I wonder what it will be like for her growing up. Then I think about my friends Lisa and Julie, they have a brother with Down syndrome. He just had a birthday and well, I will share with you their posts...

Tribute to the Birthday Guy

On Christmas Day 1981, my parents announced that they were expecting a baby! That was BY FAR the most exciting Christmas gift I've ever received to date. The following July 5th, our grandparents woke us in the wee hours of the night to announce the arrival of our baby brother "Stephen Lawrence". I still remember how I felt. It brings tears to my eyes as I think about that moment. I can honestly say that I had no idea just what having Stephen as my brother would mean in my life, and the lives of those around me.

Today is Stephen's 27th birthday! This young man is my hero and my friend. I am so proud of the young man he is. I wish I were more like him. God has given Stephen so many wonderful qualities. Anyone who has spent any time with Stephen knows what I mean. As I look back on my life, I realize that God used him specifically in my life in amazing ways. He was the ultimate "test" for any guys Lisa or I would consider (before we got married)....yes, Peter and Jim both passed the "Stephen Test". When Stephen was born, he was in the Neonatal Intensive Care unit for a few days, and that ultimately brought me into the Nursing field and to the NICU. He has inspired Lisa and I to adopt children with Down syndrome. Above all else, he has taught me about priorities. My sister posted about Stephen's birthday as well, and I am proud to be a Ds groupie, just like Lisa :) Please visit her blog to see some of her insights. She is very good at expressing things I often can't find the words for.

A Very Special Day

27 years ago today my brother Stephen was born. We were all so excited to have a new baby in the family. He came with an unexpected extra chromosome (Down syndrome). I'm sure it was shocking and hard for my parents to accept at first, but Stephen has proven to be the most wonderful gift God has ever given our family. He has changed us all and he's shown us what is really important in life.

Many people in the world feel sorry for Stephen or believe that the quality of his life is not what it should be, but Stephen's life is something we can all learn from. He has peace and happiness and he appreciates life like no one else I know. He is kind to everyone and always has an encouraging smile. He goes out of his way to help others and he looks at every day as a blessing.

It's funny, the world looks at "typical" people as the desired model, but I've learned that Stephen and his friends have something that the rest of us don't seem to have. Peace and happiness in agendas, no desired status, just genuine appreciation for life as it is. They are content to be themselves and they spend their energy reaching out in love to those around them.

As most of you know, Stephen is the reason that my sister and I have adopted children with Down syndrome. Since we met Stephen when we were 10 and 12 years old, we have had a great love for people who have Down syndrome. We often refer to ourselves as Down syndrome groupies.

Thanks, Stephen, for giving us the gift of your love and a new perspective that has changed our lives. We love you!!!! Happy Birthday.

Thursday, July 9, 2009

Swing set!

6 What are your thoughts?
A few weeks ago, Andy put together a swing set for our girls. We had a budget, and we found a great and awesome deal on a swing set on-line. It is so awesome that Ellie even calls it her tree house! Nichole loves it just as much as Ellie!
Ellie of course wanted to be my little model as I took pictures :)

Friday, July 3, 2009

Kid's Day

2 What are your thoughts?
Today was Kid's Day in our town. There is a parade where kids can either watch or participate. Those that participate ride their scooters, bikes, strollers, or wagons. Some enjoy just walking around too. Not much of a walk or a parade really, but kids love it!

Ellie wanted to ride her new scooter, she was pretty excited about that!

After the Parade there are many games for kids and food. One of the greatest hits is the "Smiley Train." For the last couple of years we have stood in line for a long time in order to have a turn. As we waited in line I wondered of Nichole would like to go on the train too. I kept going back and forth wondering if she would be ready. At the last moment I decided she could go and I would walk along the train in case I needed to get her. It wasn't necessary, she absolutely loved it! Most of the time she just sat there with a grin and watched the boy behind her who was excitedly honking the horn of his car. Nichole tried to honk hers too, but the task seemed too difficult, and watching the boy behind her turned out to be just as enjoyable.

So here are some of the pictures.



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