Saturday, January 29, 2011

A Snowy First!

Okay, now of course it has snowed PLENTY of times here since Bennett has been born but I've just never taken him out in it-can you believe that!? I just figured he'd be cold, he doesn't have the real gear you need and he's usually napping when we go out.

But I felt it was time. Time for this little boy to experience his first snow. To experience tiny snow flakes on his lashes, to try and taste it, to see what all the fuss was about!

So he tried to touch it.
He tried to manipulate it.
(kinda hard with big mittens!)

He went on the sled with his big sister for the first time.

And then he went all by himself!

He watched his sisters throw snow balls with his daddy.

And then tried to throw some himself.

I think he really liked it...until it got too cold and that was enough for him.


I think it's been snowing here since Wednesday....seriously.

Mike was in sunny Florida this past week for work and came home to a ton of snow, so to that I say....

We saved Bennett's first snow day just for you;)

Friday, January 28, 2011

The Overly Cautious Mother?

So after a week of pushing food away and seeming a little "off", I thought I'd be on the safe side and take Bennett into the pediatrician....

Yeeeahh...I felt a tad bit foolish bringing him in after seeing how he was acting in the exam room-lol! But it has been a week since he's wanted to eat his solids (he'll drink his pediasure) and his poop wasn't normal either. He had a really bad Speech/Ot session this morning-screaming when they offered him food, wouldn't calm down-just not normal. So I thought possibly strep (he threw up last Friday, low grade fever, and very lethargic last weekend) plus others had mentioned strep as well.

So yes, I tend to air on the side of caution with Bennett but he was a heart baby and the whole Down syndrome thing and the high threshold for pain...I just tend to freak a little with him!

Results...negative for strep, no fever, just wait it out a few more days with the food. He's also back on Prevacid to see if it helps with his self-feeding issues as well as his current rebellion towards food. {Reflux issues in the past}.

(sorry, poor iPhone pic)

So yes, I'm cautious but I guess it's better to be safe than sorry, right?!

Just hope he starts eating his food again soon!!! And I REALLY hope this isn't a rebellious toddler thing!

Thursday, January 27, 2011

Why I blog....

I started this blog soon after we found out Bennett would have Down syndrome. I was about 19 weeks pregnant and I remember telling my sister I may start a blog. The concept (almost 2 years ago) was so foreign to us at the time. We laughed about it because it just seemed so strange.

But as the months went on, it became very therapeutic to write what I was feeling and I started "meeting" so many other moms that had been where I was. Seeing their families and their little ones with Down syndrome gave me great comfort. It made me smile when I honestly didn't think I would smile again, it made me look forward to meeting Bennett.

Of course blogging has also been a great way to "capture the moments" of my children's lives. I think it will be fun for them to look back one day and see what their life was like. They'll probably laugh at how crazy their mom was at times and looking at pictures will hopefully bring back good memories.

But I think the most rewarding part (and please don't think I'm tooting my own horn here because that's not my intention) has been the many pregnant or new moms that have emailed me through these last 2 years. Telling me their story and how our story has helped them. I remember being in their same shoes and finding blogs, reaching out-I had no one else to turn to, no one who really had been there and knew what I was feeling.

In the last month, I've received 3 emails from expectant moms and I'm so thankful these moms contacted me and are wanting to give their babies a good life. Like me, they have found out their babies have Down syndrome, as well as the same heart defect Bennett had. They are nervous, scared, unsure but this blog and others has given them hope. And there are so many other wonderful blogs about children just like Bennett. Seems like I come across a new one every day and it makes me smile. Some of the kids have even become Bennett's buddies in real life;)

So where is all this going?

Well there's been recent talk of a new test to screen babies for Down syndrome- a very early test, early as in: the first trimester. A test that specifically targets babies with Down syndrome. A non-invasive test that won't bring risk to the baby or the mom. But it will be able to tell the parents with almost 100% accuracy whether or not the baby has Down syndrome. I think we're talking at 9 weeks. You know where I'm going here. But let's get this straight: I'm not saying that all parents that choose to take this test are doing so because they will abort, if it comes back positive.

However, this test is easy, "risk free" and the baby is just "barely there" (according to some). This test could give women an even easier choice to abort their baby that has Down syndrome, after all the baby is only 9 weeks, (barely there) right?

Oh, this breaks my heart and I'm not going to get into an abortion debate and whether or not this test is right but what I can hope and pray is that someone that finds themselves in that situation will come across this blog or the many other wonderful blogs and see that there is most definitely hope, that their baby deserves to have a life, that it's a life worth living,

that their baby will bring them joy that they can't even comprehend.

To me, God made Bennett just how He wanted him. And I've just learned time and time again that God knows best. I know everyone doesn't believe this.

But I'm pretty sure God doesn't make mistakes!! He's God!

No one ever said it would be easy to raise a child with Down syndrome. It can be frustrating, emotionally draining-just hard. But raising typical kids isn't easy either!!

I just think so many fail to see how rewarding it can really be, probably because they don't know. And probably because they've been told otherwise. Hopefully I can share how rewarding it can be from time to time, here on this blog. Hopefully it can continue to bring a scared mom hope. Hopefully it can even change a scared mom's mind.

So yeah, this is a big reason why I blog.

Tuesday, January 25, 2011

A Scattered Post... which I share random happenings of the past and current week:

So what's been going on?

  • Well, I mentioned Harper had a stomach bug and I think Bennett is getting over one now as well. Just not his happy self over the weekend {threw up Friday night and very lethargic Sunday} and his appetite is still not right but I think he's getting better.

  • I rearranged my living room and did a mini makeover of it-can't wait to share!

  • Bennett's room got a "new" item as well out of the whole deal and I'll share that in a bit.

custom children's clothes for those that don't know}. Just added my first spring 2011 item:

I've got some premade items on my site as well:

Love these ruffled bottom onesies! You'll have to check out my shop to see the front;)
But I'll be adding more spring items (dresses, skirts, boy things) in the next couple of weeks or so and the best place to follow along is my facebook page.

Let's see, what else?

  • I'm nursing what I hope is my last, ugly incision from a mole- this one is on my leg and not pretty right now. So bummed about it! And it hurts! And I can't run for 2 weeks! UGH.

  • Ooh, I'm in the middle of making this awesome Valentine wreath {taking a bit longer than I'd like} but I'll share that soon too. Sooo cute!

  • Looks like we're going to have another major snow storm come through's going to be a looong winter.

  • But I guess last and most importantly, we are waiting on some news about my dad. Don't have much more info. than that but we should know soon. All we can do is pray.

I think that's it for now.

Wednesday, January 19, 2011

Slippered Feet....

With weather like this....

We're all sporting toasty toes....

The Northeast is getting their fair share of winter storms this year and it's only January! Don't get me wrong, I love snow, always have but thank you! Had plenty of that in the South and's for the birds.

But I don't mind our occasional snow days when school is cancelled {although 2 in a row is a little much with a possible storm on the way-yikes!!}...because often mornings are more like a tornado trying to get everyone dressed, fed, {making myself look presentable has to be squeezed in there}, to the bus stop, to preschool, then to therapy, then
to piano, then daisies, the list goes on.

Tornado or not, this boy is signing "eat" first thing in the morning!

But drinking my coffee in my pj's, {not looking presentable at all}, while watching my slippered children play, is pure bliss compared to the mad rush of the morning.

Now come February, I will probably want to trade in the slippers for flip flops! Only 64 more days until spring right?;)

Monday, January 17, 2011

Purposeful Play!

So We've been working on more purposeful play with Bennett rather than just picking things up and dropping them to hear what sound they make (although he still loves this and is all about the louder the better!). He's also getting really good at pulling up-still doesn't pull up on everything he can but every morning I come into get him, he's standing up in his crib with a big smile on his face!

Here's a little clip of him working on "coloring". I know I say the word "color" over and over but his speech therapist said when we're trying to get him to say words, we need to keep it simple and say it over and over-repetition!

His OT said keeping things at a little distance where he has to put his arms out and really work his hands, helps with fine motor skills. He can't rely on other body parts as much to help him do the movement so his little magna doodle is great for this plus the "coloring" is good work for him too!

Bennett is getting really good with the stairs now too! Still needs assistance but he loves doing it! Never thought I'd have to help my child learn to crawl up the stairs but I do and that's okay. I'll have to share a clip of that soon. And yes, Bennett is a little guy so pushing up the chair cushion is still necessary;)

Always fun to see progress!

Saturday, January 15, 2011

A Health Update of Sorts....

Well it's about time for an update on several things (stick with me if you're interested):

My dad: He just finished up his second treatment of Interleukin-2 for melanoma. It went well and now we wait for 3 weeks to find out if he's considered a responder to this treatment. We are praying for shrinkage of tumors of course. He's doing well, back at home and back in his routine, gaining strength every day. Immunotherapy is different from chemotherapy in that while it still makes you feel sick, it's generally only for the time you're doing the treatment and once the treatment is over which I believe is only for a week at a time, your body quickly gets back to "normal". It also doesn't work right away so that's why he has to wait to see if it's going to do the job. But right now we are thankful that my dad is happy and healthy for the most part!

Thanks so much for all your prayers for him-keep them coming!!

Bennett: Bennett lost a little weight when I took him in for his monthly RSV shot so the pediatrician wanted me to "fatten" him up ( I think it was close to a pound). I've done my best but don't want to go too far with this. I honestly think it's due to the switch from bottles to sippy cups (he wasn't always finishing his sippy and wasn't thrilled with the transition). But in less than a week, after adding healthy fats and pediasure, he's back up to where he was. I don't want to get in the habit of "fattening" Bennett up though just because he's small compared to typically developing kids. Besides everyone that sees him thinks he's chunky and well proportioned. In other words: I'm on top of the issue and I think it's under control;)

I've also added a private OT to work with his private Speech therapist-{don't ask how many therapists we see now}. She worked with Bennett Friday and I really liked her, she's young but really knows her stuff! We're hoping she can help him with his self-feeding issues along with the other people working with him on this! Plus she had great tips for me to work on with him for fine motor skills. It's going to be a long process I think but enough of that.

Me: So before the holidays I think I mentioned I had been to a new dermatologist and moles were removed. I feel like I'm always at the dermatologist these days-seriously, every 2 weeks due to mole removals, more needing to come out, then stitches, {waiting to hear the pathology results-the worst part}, then stitch removal. Long story short: 2 came back as atypical and the other 2 came back as benign but unfortunately I will have 4 ugly scars to show for it;(. However, I am very thankful and relieved they were just that and nothing more.

Anyways, I think it's pretty obvious that I'm a little "hyper" when it comes to my skin, moles, etc. So a friend of mine gave me the number to a dermatologist that specializes in early detection of melanoma (he's located at the Memorial Sloan-Kettering Cancer Center in the NJ branch) and thought it may ease my mind a bit. So I finally had my appointment (remember, I did years of damage in the tanning bed, laying out, no sun block, tons of moles, plus my family history, so to me it was necessary to do this) and I finally feel like I can breathe! He put my mind at ease, telling me that yes, I am at higher risk then others due to multiple factors but that I am doing everything I can possibly do to either prevent it or detect it at a very early stage. He also said I can choose to live in fear and feel I'm doomed or do what I can to prevent it and live my life. He was very understanding of the situation with my dad, the strong family history, thus my worrying about my own skin.

Of course the best part is that he didn't see anything that needed to be removed. And according to his PA, he knows what needs to come off. He was an awesome doctor and I'm so glad I will now be followed by a "melanoma expert". I will also be doing photo imaging on my moles which is a big reason I went there. They will take close ups of my skin all over my body and then have these to compare 6 months from now and so on down the road. This has helped save lives due to the fact that doctors have a better handle on what your moles look like and can detect early changes or new, suspicious moles (early detection is key with melanoma). I have tons of small moles/freckles on my back and there is no way I can see them all and see if they are changing for that matter. Trust me, I've tried;)

Anyways, hopefully that's the end of that for me. It's been a long 2 months or so of trying my hardest not to worry so I'm glad this has had a good outcome.

So that's what has been going on as far as health issues in our family. Harper happens to have a stomach bug right now;( but hoping it passes quickly without getting to the rest of us!

Hoping 2011 is a healthy one for all!!

Monday, January 10, 2011

Could This Be The Year?

Well, Bennett will be 2 in a little over 4 months-can't believe it! And I have a feeling that this year is going to be an exciting one as far as big milestones go...big for Bennett at least....

Could this be the year he takes his first steps?

{By the way, those are his real eye lashes- my boy was blessed with some killer lashes!}

Could this be the year that he eats table food? Lord, I hope so-LOL.

Could this be the year that he starts climbing the stairs and we catch him going up half way?

Could this be the year he's able to hold our hand and walk?

Could this be the year that he says "Mama" when I come into his room in the morning?
(He says mama but only when he's whining or I ask him to;).)

But if it's not the year for those things, then there's always next year. Bennett's timing is slowly becoming my timing, meaning: when he's ready, is really okay.

And that's a good thing.

It's only taken me about 2 years to get there;)

Friday, January 7, 2011

A Snowy B-Day...

So today I turned 33...yuck! But I know, be thankful for another year! And believe me, I am! It's just, I still can't believe I'm in my 30's now, with 3 kids! I've been in my 30's for 3 years and still can't believe it!

Anyways, nothing too grand happened today and actually the girls were not on their best behavior, even after I told them:

"It's mommy's birthday, you're not allowed to be like this today!"


That's being a mom for you though! Kids have to be fed and disciplined and the laundry has to be folded, even if it is your birthday!

We did get to play in the snow that fell over night though....

Love these girls!

Please notice Harper. She's ticked that it's not her turn-yes, that's what I dealt with today... and pretty much all day! Just keepin' it real folks!

Bennett was all snuggled up in his crib during this time;)

Mike plans on making me a yummy dinner, which I look forward to because he's a really good cook! And tomorrow I'm looking forward to lunch and a pedicure with good friends!

Alright, being 33 isn't so bad!

Thursday, January 6, 2011

Drooling Dilemma...

This is such a silly post but I'm curious to see if anyone else has this issue with their child: Drooling!! Now before you answer, I do know that babies drool, yes, fully aware of that. However, what's annoying is that Bennett is now 19 months and he still has to wear bibs! No, he's not teething!! But he didn't start drooling until he reached a year and most babies start at around 4 months. And what's even more confusing to me is that Bennett generally has good tone in his face, yes, he has big, chubby cheeks;) but all of this therapists have said his tone is very good, he doesn't let his tongue hang out, he drinks from straws, makes good sounds, etc. So why all the drool??

I'm assuming it's a Down syndrome thing- I think someone told me babies with DS produce more saliva...or something like that. His speech therapist thinks he just needs a little stimulation around his mouth to remember to swallow the saliva and when he starts eating more solids (ahem, anytime now Bennett!) it should get better. Bennett also likes to produce the drool and spit by purposely making "spitting" noises. Yes, he thinks it's fun to soak himself!! Needless to say his bibs and shirts are always wet and we seriously go through about 8 bibs a day! It's driving me crazy! Okay, it's not that bad but I'm wondering if anyone has or had this experience and if it got better? The only time Bennett is nice and dry is when he's sleeping, not one drop of drool, pj's are dry-it's a nice thing! So will I be sending Bennett to preschool in a bib!!?? Please tell me no!

Tuesday, January 4, 2011

Bennett's (Girl)Friends;)...

Over the holidays, while visiting Mike's family, we got the chance to meet up with some friends I met through blogging and facebook! We decided to meet at the Cheese Cake Factory for lunch-yummy!!

I met Christi (left) through facebook and she was also a wonderful Lil' Sis customer;). She has Arden, who in this picture is slightly annoyed about not be able to get down and move and this girl can crawl fast!! Arden is just one day older than Bennett. I met Jeannette through blogging, as well as facebook and she has Kylee who is wondering why Arden is not very happy-lol. Kylee is about a month younger than Bennett.

So, trying to get three, 1 year olds to sit still and look at the camera is nearly impossible but I tried to get some cute shots....

This may have been the closest I got to all 3 of them sort of looking at the camera!

Bennett's on his first date!:) It's a little joke that Christi and Jeanette have of "fighting over" Bennett for their girls-too funny!

"Well hello there Bennett."

Arden's making her move;) Sorry for the blurry picture!

All three were very loud and talkative but thankfully so was the Cheese Cake Factory!

Love this pic!! Christi's other daughter Andersen joined us and Ainsley and Harper became fast friends with her. Within 5 minutes of meeting each other, they were all best friends- so cute!

Big sister love!

Arden really wanted down here and Kylee is still wondering what's up!

Both girls were so, so sweet and absolutely ADORABLE!! Thanks so much Christi and Jeanette for meeting up with us!! I think Bennett loved your girls equally and just can't stop talking about them;)

We LOVE meeting up with our blogging/facebook friends-just wish everyone lived closer!!

Sunday, January 2, 2011

Our Christmas- 2010...

Well, this is long overdue but I wanted to share our Christmas!

We weren't sure if we'd see my parents this Christmas, my dad had just finished up his first treatment in the hospital and didn't know how he'd feel. But thankfully he felt pretty good and they were able to spend a couple of days with us and what a wonderful couple of days it was!!

Of course I have a million pics of the kids ripping into their presents but I'll spare you those and show the ones that meant the most to me....

Opening their one, small gift on Christmas Eve after church.

I love this picture of the kids with Grammy and Granddaddy!
Just wish Harper would have cooperated, she was way too busy playing with her new toys that morning to stop and take a picture! LOL

My dad and I Christmas morning:)

Dad made french toast...yum!

Bennett playing with Granddaddy.

So while their visit was short, we were so glad they came up and spent Christmas with us!! Thanks mom and dad, we love you!

So my parents planned to leave Christmas morning to head back home and they did that but we planned to leave the next day to head to North Carolina to see Mike's family. Until a major snow storm threatened the entire South and Northeast! At the last minute with presents everywhere, house a mess, nothing packed, we decided to head for Charlotte, NC...Christmas day.

Forget drinking coffee and watching the kids play with their new toys, we were rushing to beat the storm.

So we were off and made it pretty far but instead of beating the storm we were driving right into it. I think it was a combination of two people that didn't have a ton of experience driving in the snow, not ever having to deal with snow on the roads in PA (we have things called plows in PA;)) and having 3 kids-we just needed to stop. We stayed in a hotel that night and I wish I had taken some pics! 3 kids, 2 adults and 2 dogs in a small room-fun times!

Mike and I slept with Bennett and let's just say we'll never do that again if we can help it! The girls slept peacefully with the dogs while Mike and I got kicked and pushed all night long by our sweet, little son. And then he decided that 5:30 am was a great time to wake up the next day, I think I had just fallen asleep! Again, fun times!

So the roads were much better the next day but it was still below 30 degrees, icy, snowing and we were coming down this mountain when I took a picture of this. Have you seen these signs before!?? So if a huge truck has issues with brakes coming down this mountain, they can basically crash into these help them stop! We kept our distance from any trucks!

Bennett was as good as gold during our 10 hour, 2 day trip and in this picture he's attempting to "take a bite" of his cracker-still working on the feeding, needless to say.

So we finally got to Charlotte and when we pulled into the neighborhood we entered a winter wonderland...

4-5 inches is a lot for this area!;)

Grandma's happy to see the girls!

We opened lots of presents and then it was time to play in our first real snow for the season!

I don't think Mike's family has ever had a white Christmas and I've maybe seen it snow once or twice around Christmas so it was fun and pretty while it lasted.

The girls had fun throwing snow balls at Uncle Brian!

And sledding with Aunt Kelly!

Mike helping the girls make their mini snow men, they both had arms until Chloe (Kelly's dog) thought they were for her to take and chew:).

Later in the week we met two little girls, Bennett's age and their mommies-so much fun! I'll post those pics soon!

All in all it was a wonderful Christmas! We feel very blessed to have such great families!!!