Welcome!

This blog was inspired by 31 for 21 & is about my wonderful family.

"As a mother, my job is to take care of what is possible & trust God with the impossible." ~Ruth Bell Graham

"Never look down on someone, unless you're helping them up!"

Sunday, October 31, 2010

10/31/10

     Today is the last day of the 31 for 21.  This has been a challenge for me time wise but I have enjoyed it.  :)
     I have had some major changes in my life over the past few months.  Some things are for the better, no matter how hard they seem.  Tonight verified that for me.  I have done nothing wrong & to be chastised for that is just childish & selfish.  To act like my family doesn't exist at church for heaven's sake was the straw that broke the camel's back.  I am sick & tired of swallowing my pride in this situation.  Sometimes relationships just won't work & you have to just sever ties.  I just have to rid my life of the negative & focus on the positive.  I don't have room in my life for evil, that's what this is, the work of the devil.  All I can do is pray that God will help me to forgive them & that they will keep their evil away from my family....they can be miserable in their own skin.  Other than "them" being at our church function, we had a blast!  But before we went to our church, we went to my mother in law's church for their trunk or treat...it was fantastic too!
     October is almost over, but Down syndrome awareness will continue EVERYDAY in my world.  I hope to continue to educate one person, one heart at a time.  Thank you for reading my blog & may God bless you.

10/30/10

"A BLUE ROSE"

Having visiting family members, my wife was very busy, so I offered to go to the store for her to get some needed items. 
  So off I went. I scurried around the store, gathered up my goodies and headed for the checkout counter, only to be blocked in the narrow aisle by a young man who appeared to be about sixteen-years-old. I wasn't in a hurry, so I patiently waited for the boy to realize that I was there.

 This was when he waved his hands excitedly in the air and declared in a loud voice, "Mommy, I'm over here." It was obvious now, he was mentally challenged and also startled as he turned and saw me standing so close to him, waiting to squeeze by. His eyes widened and surprise exploded on his face as I said, "Hey Buddy, what's your name?"

 "My name is Denny and I'm shopping with my mother," he responded proudly.

 "Wow," I said, "that's a cool name; I wish my name was Denny, but my name is Steve."

 "Steve, like Stevarino?" he asked.

 "Yes," I answered. "How old are you Denny?" "How old am I now, Mommy?" he asked his mother as she slowly came over from the next aisle. "You're fifteen-years-old Denny; now be a good boy and let the man pass by." I acknowledged her and continued to talk to Denny for several more minutes about summer, bicycles and school. I watched his brown eyes dance with excitement, because he was the center of someone's attention. He then abruptly turned and headed toward the toy section.

 Denny's mom had a puzzled look on her face and thanked me for taking the time to talk with her son. She told me that most people wouldn't even look at him, much less talk to him.

 I told her that it was my pleasure and then I said something I have no idea where it came from, other than by the prompting of the Holy Spirit. I told her that there are plenty of red, yellow, and pink roses in God's Garden; however, "Blue Roses" are very rare and should be appreciated for their beauty and distinctiveness. You see, Denny is a Blue Rose and if someone doesn't stop and smell that rose with their heart and touch that rose with their kindness, then they've missed a blessing from God."

 She was silent for a second, then with a tear in her eye she asked, "Who are you?"

 Without thinking I said, "Oh, I'm probably just a dandelion, but I sure love living in God's garden."

 She reached out, squeezed my hand and said, "God bless you!" and then I had tears in my eyes.

 May I suggest, the next time you see a BLUE ROSE, don't turn your head and walk off. Take the time to smile and say Hello. Why? Because, by the grace of GOD, this mother or father could be you. This could be your child, grandchild, niece or nephew. What a difference a moment can mean to that person or their family. From an old dandelion!

Friday, October 29, 2010

10/29/10

Below is a video of Troy from this morning.  I took it while Mack was cooking me breakfast.  Yes, he actually cooked for me & no it wasn't a grilled cheese.  He made bacon, eggs, & toast.  It was delicious!  :)  Hope you enjoy the video!
video
We had a scare with Troy late this morning & I'm keeping an eye on him to make sure he's okay.  He seems to be okay, but I am taking every precaution until I KNOW all is well.  Gotta trust those motherly instincts!
Mack has to work tonight, but he's off tomorrow.  Since Troy's scare this morning, Mack hasn't slept at all.  We took the kids trick or treating on the square so he didn't get in the bed until around 5 pm & he hs to leave for work at 10 pm.  At least he gets one day off this week!  :)

10/28/10

Tonight I watched Private Practice after Grey's Anatomy as usual.  My career was in the medical field before I became disabled so I LOVE any medical show that's on TV.  Mack leaves for work at 10 pm so I just record anything that he watches at that time, but I watch it then.  It's kind of 'my' time since the kids are in the bed, I just unwind watching TV...I know I should read or do something productive, but I'm doing that from 7 am until 10 pm EVERYDAY.  Anyway, at the end of the show, one of my favorite characters is attacked.  It was apparent that he was going to rape her.  On this episode, he hit her a few times, pushed her into her office, & then he closed the door.  It went off like that, but it showed scenes from next week's show.  He does in fact rape her, according to the previews.  It was pretty graphic & I couldn't stop crying.  Most people don't know this about me, but I was raped when I was younger.  It was one of the worst things imaginable.  When the scenes from next week's show were playing, I was flashing back to when it happened to me.  I immediately called Mack's cell phone.  I figured he wouldn't answer because his phone rarely picks up in the plant.  I just wanted to hear his voice on the voicemail.  But, he answered.  He tried to soothe me the best he could over the phone.  He said, "Go read the Bible, everything is going to be okay.  I will be home as soon as I can."  I am so lucky to have such an understanding & loving husband.  He knows that I will have horrific nightmares all night long.  I usually know when a rape scene is coming on a show or a movie & I just won't watch it to keep from "going there," but this one crept up on me.  At least I know not to watch next week's episode until Mack is with me!  Being a rape survivor is a blessing but it is a challenge.
Let's get on to something positive.  We bought a HUGE pumpkin so that I could gut it & take Troy's picture in it just like I did last year.  Well, I gutted it & put some old pants & a Halloween shirt on him to do just that, only he was NOT having it!  I put his little bare feet in that pumpkin & he drew them up & clinched on to me.  He has some sensory issues so I took him out, soothed him, & tried it again.  He was not getting into that pumpkin!  So I just let it be.  Now I have a HUGE pumpkin with 2 holes in the front bottom half where his legs were supposed to go.  I snapped a few pictures of him near the pumpkins we will carve tomorrow night...they are cute.
We're checking Chancey out of school a little early tomorrow so he can get dressed up & go trick or treating on the square with Troy.  Troy is really leery of strangers, so I am hoping that he'll do fine trick or treating.  Chancey is going to be a zombie & Troy is going to be a monkey.  Mack has to work tomorrow night, but he's SUPPOSED to be off on Saturday night.
I think that I'm going to try to get some sleep now.  My back, neck, & right shoulder are hurting me SO bad!  This Neurontin & Advil are not cutting it either.  I shouldn't complain because at least I AM alive to feel this pain.

Wednesday, October 27, 2010

10/27/10

     If the weather permits, we will be taking the boys to a friend's church for their trunk or treat this evening.  We are currently under a tornado watch until 8:00 pm & it has been storming on & off all day.  It is very unseasonable warm for the end of October.  It has been around 85 degrees here during the day...I'm ready for cooler weather!
     We have decided to take the boys trick or treating on Saturday this year.  I know that the last time Halloween fell on a Sunday we took Chancey trick or treating on Saturday & that many people feel the same way we do about the subject so they will be also giving out candy on Saturday.  It's not that we don't agree with trick or treating on Sunday.  We go to church & our church is having a Family Fun Night on Halloween.  If we wait until after church, it will be too late for the boys to trick or treat.  Plus, my husband works nights, so he'll be leaving for work at 10 pm.  If we go to church on Sunday morning & night plus trick or treat, Mack won't have time to sleep much at all.  Not to mention, he has been working 7 days a week.  So it's not that we're all 'holier than thee', we just have other plans.  We know that Halloween is not the devil's holiday...we know the origin.  I've just been catching a ton of negative comments about our decision.  God is first & for most, not candy.  I can go buy my boys the candy they like if no one else is giving out candy on Saturday, but I know they will be because some people are in the same situation as we are.  I just feel like the entire trick or treating experience is a family event for us & I don't want to take that from the boys. 
     Troy had PT yesterday.  He wasn't able to have it earlier this month so I was anxious for him to have it (He only has it twice a month).  She was so amazed at his progress!  She even said that she "couldn't be more pleased!"  She observed him side stepping, crawling on his hands & knees, pulling to stand, & following commands.  I value her knowledge & opinion very highly.  She has been doing this for over 20 years, with strictly DS babies/kids.  Therefore I asked her a few questions.  As you may know, I have been seriously thinking that Troy needs more therapy than he's getting.  I feel like he needs OT & speech.  So I asked her thought on that.  She advised me that "Troy is well above the average child with DS."  She said that very few of her patients can verbalize the way he does & they can't follow commands like he does.  I asked her opinion about sign language for Troy.  She knows that I have tried to teach him some words in sign language.  She said that "sign language is a great resource for people that can't understand what their kids want & for kids to be able to express to their parents what they want.  But Troy can verbalize what he wants & you can understand him.  So he doesn't need to use sign language right now.  If someone pushes it on you, just tell them that he can communicate without it but if the time comes when he can't, we'll try it."  Mack & I agreed from the time I was pregnant that we would wait to see if he could communicate with us & if not, then we'd revert to signing.  But that we wanted to give him the chance to speak.  I thought that maybe we had made the wrong decision & that we waited too long to start teaching him to sign.  I felt so awful.  But he started saying words to communicate before he was a year old.  I was so glad to hear that we didn't screw up!  This is exactly why I wish we had a support group in my area (I'm trying to get one together, but have only received 2 responses so far).  We could use each other's experiences!  I know that every child is different, DS or not, but it would be nice to have a peer group.  I don't know if Troy should be verbalizing more at 21 months than he does.  But he can say the following:  mama, daddy (not dada anymore...YAY), Chancey, Kinsey (our dog), bye bye, yes, bite bite, eat, Elmo, candy, num num, ball, wee, Dana, Grandpa, who is this (EVERY time he sees a phone or hears one ring), baby, & nay-nay (for Nanky...his sippy cup).  He also knows when we say no that he's not supposed to do that, so he stops.  He can wave when you say hey or bye & he knows how to blow kisses.  He knows when we go through a drive thru too because he will say "bite bite"  "eat" until you give him a bite.  He knows if you sneak a piece of candy out of the candy dish too & he comes up to you & goes, "num num!"  He knows the dog's name is Kinsey, but we also call her by her middle name (Lu Lu or Lu for short) so I think that confuses him, therefore he just says "woof woof" when he sees her or any dog.  He watches Curious George & when he sees him he says "oooo oooo", & when he sees a monkey he does that as well.  He can meow like a cat when he sees one & he goes "bbbbbuuu" when asked what a horse says or sees one.  He can point to some of his body parts when asked.  If you say, "Troy, where's your little shirt" he will pull on it.  I'm probably leaving somethings out.  But after speaking with his therapist, I'm thinking that maybe I've been stressing about his progress a little too much.  I can't help it though, I just want the best for my boys!

Tuesday, October 26, 2010

10/26/10

It's my job to show my kids what true, unconditional love is.  I think that I AM showing them what LOVE is..at least I think I am, I could be wrong.  But to me love is defined like this:  an intense emotion of affection, warmth, fondness, and regard towards a person or thing.  Love is going to ball games, even when you have no clue what is going on... or even if you don't particularly like the sport, just to show your support for them.  Love is going to a social function an hour and a half away just to show your support for them...even though they're too small to know that the hoopla is for them.   Love is driving 80 miles round trip everyday for 9 months just to see a dying woman's smile, just to "look at her."  Love is calling to see what the doctor said at your appointment...or going with you to that appointment.  Love is accepting someone's disability & helping them to overcome it.  Love is being an advocate, a teacher, provider, nurse, & strength.  Love is being someone's voice when they can't speak.  Love is wrapping your arms around them to say what words can't.  Love is acceptance, love is understanding.  Love is looking at someone & feeling their soul.  Love is helping someone up when they're down.  Love is honest, love is pure.  Love is looking at my husband & our boys & feeling pure joy & love back in return.  Love is being patient, kind, & a shoulder to lean on.  Love is giving without expecting anything in return.  Love is putting others before yourself.  Love is knowing that someone has special needs & that they NEED to see you quite often in order to KNOW you.  Love is feeling safe in someone's arms, a feeling of comfort.  Love is that warm, fuzy, butterfly feeling in your soul when they walk in the door or when you hear them pulling in the driveway.  Love is grabbing their hand while your walking beside them.  To me, love is Mack, Chancey, & Troy.  Mine & Mack's love has grown day by day over twenty years.  My love for my boys was instant, I have loved them from the moment I knew I was pregnant.  Nothing can make me love my boys any less or any more than I do right now.  I asked my oldest son (who is 13) what love is.  He said, "Love is being there for someone & supporting them."  So, yes, I think I am teaching them the true meaning of love!

Monday, October 25, 2010

10/25/10

Troy is side stepping more & he's starting to move from furniture to furniture!  He went from the couch to the coffee table all by himself earlier today.  He is starting to pull himself up more without any assistance.  I'm still hopeful that he'll be walking by his second birthday.  I feel like if he could've stayed with his PT with BCW (Babies Can't Wait) that he would be walking by now.  He missed his last PT appointment because he was sick, but he has one tomorrow. :)
Chancey got his report card last week & he did very well!  He had 3 A's & 3 B's.  I am very proud of him.  He wasn't able to complete the try outs for the basketball team at school because of his illness, but we're looking into getting him on a team at the YMCA or through the city.  He loves playing sports & he was so disappointed that he couldn't finish tryouts.  But I couldn't allow him to exert himself & make himself any sicker.  He's still really sick, but he's taking all of the medication the doctor gave him.  I'm hoping he's better by this weekend so he can go trick or treating with his brother.  They missed going trick or treating last year because Troy was sick.  Troy was really too little to go last year, but I want him to go this year.  I don't allow him to eat candy (he did manage to eat an entire Reece's cup one day), but I will allow him to at least taste some of it.  He's VERY picky too.  But I'm sure someone here will eat his candy (LOL).  Speaking of Halloween, we still haven't got Chancey's costume.  He can't really decide what he wants to be.  He wants to be someone scary, but I don't want him to frighten Troy.  I also don't know when to do the trick or treating.  We have a church function to attend on Sunday evening.  The businesses on the square in Gainesville will be giving out candy on Friday.  I know the last time Halloween fell on Sunday that we took Chancey trick or treating on Saturday.  I guess we'll try it on Saturday because many people are in the same situation that we are, with the church thing.  I don't think it's really appropriate to trick or treat on Sunday anyway, even though it is actually Halloween.  ~Maybe Mack will actually be off one day this weekend!

Sunday, October 24, 2010

10/24/10

Today's post is my montage that I created a few days ago.  Sorry...but with Mack working 7 nights a week,  Chancey is sick, & I am sick, I just don't have the time!  :(  I hope you enjoyed the video!  :)

Saturday, October 23, 2010

10/23/10

My poor Chancey is still sick!  I took him to the doctor yesterday after taking Mack for his physical.  Chancey has the croup.  I knew that the croup was usually caused by the parainfluenza virus but I didn't know that it can be caused by the respiratory syncytial virus (RSV).  I'm praying that Chancey's wasn't caused from RSV!  Troy has had his first Synagis shot this season, but I have heard of cases where kids were vaccinated for RSV & STILL got it!  I just have to pray that he doesn't get it.  But, what makes me even more nervous is that he slept from 5:30 pm yesterday until 7:00 am today!  He NEVER sleeps that long unless he's sick or getting sick.  I know that I have felt like I'm coming down with something since mid afternoon yesterday.  I just hope that Troy or Mack either one end up with this mess.
Mack came home from work this morning & said that our neighbor's horses were out of their pasture & in their driveway.  They have several pastures with fences so Mack put them in the pasture nearest our house.  I took Troy outside to see them.  It was so adorable!  I'd say, "Look, Troy, horse.  The horse says BBBBBBUUU."  He'd look at them and go, "BBBBBUU!"  Mack brought me a bouquet of BEAUTIFUL daisies...they're my favorite!  He's such a doll!  :)  Then since he got in the bed late yesterday & slept until 9 pm, he didn't want to go to bed as soon as he got home.  So I got dressed & we all went to breakfast.  We stopped at Burger King to get Troy some chicken nuggets.  I told Mack just to get him a kid's meal so he could have the toy & sometimes he likes fries...I don't give them to him often.  Then when we got up to the window to pay the lady says, "$3.75."  I said to Mack, "Are you kidding me?    $3.75 for a kid's meal?"  He said, "Yeah."  See, he always orders & pays while I watch Troy & it has been quite a while since Chancey ate a kid's meal.  I said, "What happened to $1.99 for a kid's meal?"  Chancey says, "Mama, that was forever ago.  Kinda like exit 6 became exit 22 before I was even born!"  He also teases me because today our bank, Wachovia, officially became Wells Fargo.  He says, "Mama, how long is Wells Fargo going to be Wachovia to you?  Forever, like exit 6?"  (LOL)  Anyways, we went to Waffle House (or as I call it, the AWFUL WAFFLE) to eat breakfast then we went to Goldbrook's Pumpkin Farm.  I already had one pumpkin, but I needed one more for Chancey & I wanted to take some pictures & ride the hayride.  As we pulled in, we realized that we didn't go by the ATM to get some cash.  Mack says, "I meant to go by the bank."  I said, "Yeah, we passed a Wachovia & I completely forgot, too."  Chancey said, "Uh huh, there you go with the Wachovia already." :)  Thank goodness they accepted checks.  We had a nice time!  On our way home, we stopped to pick up Chancey's friend, Pierce.  My mother in law came & took them to the community center to play some basketball.  They weren't gone very long because Chancey can't breathe really well & running makes it worse.  Now I am just going to watch my LSU get stomped by Auburn & flip between that game & the Clemson/Georgia Tech game....go TIGERS!  I have to go grocery shopping before the Bama game.  So I won't be really lonely while Mack is sleeping this evening....atleast I hope.  I'm not liking this sleeping shift that Mack has had the past 2 days.  I had rather him go to bed as soon as he gets home & wake up around 3, instead of going to bed around 2 & waking up in time to go to work!
Lord, help me!  I may lock my dog outside before this evening is over!  She knows those horses are near our house & she is constantly whining & pacing the floor.  The first time she steps on Troy, I am going to lock her out.

Friday, October 22, 2010

10/22/10

Today's post is Troy last night walking with the help of his activity walker.  One step closer to walking!  I don't know why the picture is so dark on here...it's crystal clear on my camera & on Easyshare.
video

Thursday, October 21, 2010

10/21/10


Nuturing a child with special needs often encounter the heart of God in ways that can only be described as a spiritual mystery.  Those honored to serve these children are given a
unique connection with the God whose image they bear – seen in a gazing smile, a shrieking laugh, or an unspoken moment of delight that proclaims to all “the refreshing water of God’s joy is available to us all.”
I have one of the most difficult yet vital callings in the kingdom of God. But how can I maintain the ongoing energy and passion needed to parent a child with special needs & a teenager?
There’s no other way to do it than to daily embrace the call to lay down your life. Philippians 2 says:  Your attitude should be the same as that of Christ Jesus: Who, being in very nature God, did not consider equality with God something to be grasped, but made himself nothing, taking the very nature of a servant, being made in human likeness. And being found in appearance as a man, he humbled himself and became obedient to death - even death on a cross! (Philippians 2:5-8). 
All Christian parents are called to mirror Jesus by taking on “the very nature of a servant” at home. But needs. Even if those around you never understand the load you bear, you play a part that is immensely important from God’s perspective and is credited as serving Christ himself (Matthew 25:40).
I am human so I do feel discouraged & frustrated sometimes.  When I do, I simply step back & take a breather.  I am a perfectionist, so I want Troy to get it right on the very first try.  This has been quite a challenge for me since Chancey always did things quickly.  He crawled at 7 months, walked at 10 months, & at this age (almost 2) he could carry on a full conversation with anyone.  Troy can't.  But, Troy will!  He may not be able to do the things that Chancey could at this age, but eventually he will.  I know that he has to have more attention & requires more work than a child without special needs.  I knew this before he was born.  I just feel like he needs more than I can give him.  He needs to have more therapy, more intervention.  But my insurance only pays for therapists that aren't qualified to work with kids with DS.  Been there, done that.  My insurance won't pay for (BCW) Babies Can't Wait.  He is receiving PT from BCW, but they're 'eating the cost'.  So they can't afford to also provide OT & speech.  Therefore, I am the one doing those with him.  I feel like I am constantly working with Troy.  He depends on me & I know that.  I'm not complaining, I just feel like he needs more professional assistance.  He gets PT only twice a month, that's it.  I've asked his therapist if he needs more than that & she says that he doesn't.  I know that he'll do things at his own pace & I try so hard not to feel defeated at the end of the day.  Not to mention that I feel like I am neglecting Chancey.  He sees me with Troy all of the time.  He's a teenager & it probably doesn't bother him one bit that I let him do his own thing, but I feel like I am giving all of my attention to Troy.  I love both of them equally, like a mother should, but I just feel like I'm not doing my job very well.  Both of them are my responsibility & #1 priority on Earth & I feel like I am letting them both down.

Wednesday, October 20, 2010

10/20/10

My kids are God's gift to me & my husband.  We know that God made them just for us & we love them unconditionally, we ALWAYS will.  There is NOTHING that either one of my boys could do that would make me stop loving them or embarrass me!  My job as a mother is to teach them, love & support them, provide for them, be an example for them, & help them in anyway possible not just now, but forever.  I will always be their mother, even when they are married & have families of their own.  I will always be there for them & for their kids.  I know that there will be times of triumph & times of disappointment, but I will always show them love & understanding.  No matter the situation, we will always have that inseparable bond.   I want them to know that they can always come to me for anything.  BUT, when you hurt my kids you are tearing my heart from my chest & stomping on it.  Troy is too little right now to know some things, but Chancey isn't.  He sees & hears EVERYTHING & he also knows when someone truly loves him & his brother.  If my kids aren't good enough, then you aren't good enough to be graced by their presence.  Chancey has been hurt a lot lately & I am a HUGE believer in karma.  I am not perfect, don't claim to be.  But if someone has a problem with me, then it's with me, not with my kids.  Don't drag them into a selfish squabble.  Think of someone other than yourself for a change.  I have swallowed my pride too many times to please others & it's high time that I stopped doing that!  I am sick & tired of being the better person here.  My kids are my #1 priority here on Earth & I have to be their advocate.  I have to protect them, shield them the best way I can.  Chancey is old enough to see when petty issues are affecting him & he's old enough to make some decisions on his own.  He has a bruised heart & my job is to mend it, because that's what a real mother does.  She nurtures her kids, ALWAYS, regardless!
I know that I should forgive & forget.  I also know that is what God wants me to do.  To err is human, I know that.  I realize that God doesn't want me hold a grudge.  If God can forgive, then I should forgive.  But that's the thing.   I CAN forgive.  I can forgive those that have wronged me.  But just because I forgive someone doesn't mean that I have to be around them.  My kids deserve to be around people that are positive examples.  I have to rid my garden of the weeds, so to speak.  Life is too short to surround yourself by people who are allowing you to be an option in their life instead of a priority!  Keep in mind that your actions express your priorities!

Tuesday, October 19, 2010

10/19/2010

This morning I asked Chancey if he had heard anything about getting his school pictures back.  He said, "Oh yeah, they're in my binder.  But I want retakes."  I asked him why he wanted retakes.  He said, "Because I look fat & everyone in first period was making fun of them."  I looked at them & I totally disagreed.  He looks handsome!  I said, "Son, you have my round face...you aren't fat.  I like the pictures, you look handsome."  I asked Mack what he thought & he agreed with me.  But Chancey is dead set on retakes.   I asked him who was calling him fat.  He said, "Everyone.  Everyone calls me fat.  And that FAT picture will be on my high school ID badge."  I was so heartbroken for him & yet so angry at those kids for doing that to him.  He wanted to go back to school this year after I home schooled him last year due to all of the illnesses going around (couldn't have either one of my kids sick, but Troy's heart was so fragile).  But we moved to another district in February so he was happy to make new friends at this school.  He has made some friends, but he doesn't like this school at all.  He told me a few weeks ago that he wanted to go back to his old school.  :(  He misses his friends at that school.  But his old school COVERS them in homework & his grades weren't as good there.  Then again, he's miserable at this school.  These kids have his self esteem so low & he's never been like this.  Maybe it's because he is getting older & more conscious about his appearance.  But he goes all day without eating lunch & barely eats supper.  Mack & I had to get on to him for not eating several times, but I can't be at school to force him to eat there.  He has lost probably 20 lbs since school started 2 months ago.  I noticed it at the Buddy Walk when he was carrying Troy's sign in one hand & holding his pants us with the other hand.  He's not overweight by any means (5'6" & maybe 150 lbs).  We've told him that & so has his grandparents.  His Grandpa tells him every time he sees Chancey that he's lost weight & is looking "fit & trim."  I never thought that boys teased other boys about being fat or that girls would tease boys about it either.  But when I asked him who was calling him fat, there were girl names in the long list.  Now I really hope that he makes the basketball team just so maybe his self esteem will go back up!  I just don't know why these kids are being so cruel.  It baffles me that someone would just come out & say "you look fat" to someone else.  It would be different if he took the picture around to everyone & asked their opinion.  They just took it upon themselves to laugh at him & call him fat when he was viewing the pictures himself!  What happened to 'if you don't have anything nice to say, don't say anything at all?'  My son was raised with that philosophy.  I taught him manners & respect.  He has watched his Daddy open my car door & any door for me since he was born.  We have taught him to do the same thing.  When we go out, Chancey will open the door for anyone & he will stand & hold the door for others that are coming.  You don't even have to ask.  He has always been well behaved & we always receive compliments that.  So I just can't see any parent not instilling these same values in their children!  If they're raised right, 9 times out of 10 they will remember those values throughout life.  Okay, I'm getting off of my soap box now.

Monday, October 18, 2010

10/18/2010

I've spent most of the day catching up on laundry since I didn't do any this past weekend.  I did manage to do the dishes & worked with Troy.  But I have felt lousy all day.  My illness does this to me when I am get really busy & stressed.  I'm not complaining by any means!  Because if I'm sick, atleast I am alive to feel sick.  My illness could've ended my life many times, but God has a reason to keep me working on this Earth.  I'm praying that tomorrow will be a little better. :)
I realized today that Christmas is just over 2 months away!  We will pick up most of Troy's Christmas presents on Saturday.  We haven't even started shopping for Chancey, but he's harder to buy for & you can't put the things he wants (video games) on layaway.  Maybe we can save enough money to get most of Chancey's presents on Black Friday.
I know this post is short, but I just don't feel like typing any more....sorry!

10/17/2010

Today was the annual Buddy Walk of Atlanta.  We met the rest of our team at the Park & Ride in Oakwood at 10 a.m. so they could follow us.  We knew that we had quite a ride ahead of us & anticipated a lot of traffic with the air show at Dobbins ARB.  But we had a smooth ride, no traffic at all, & we found it without having to turn around once! :)  We got there around 11:45, so we were early.  But I'd rather be early than late any day!  We ended up having a blast!  The weather was just perfect.  Being in the presence of these beautiful children & their loving families just makes life even more wonderful.  I have left both years feeling more & more blessed!  My Troy fell asleep around 3:00 & the walk began at 3:30.  So we just put the blanket in his wagon & let him snooze.  He slept the entire walk, but he received his medal at the finish line & I took TONS of pictures for him.  We were missing some of our team, but it was still fabulous.  We have almost met our fundraising goal as well.  Once our pastor's donation is received at the DSAA, we will have exceeded our goal!  YAY!  I already find myself excited for next year.  I wish we had some type of event for the World Down Syndrome Day!

Saturday, October 16, 2010

10/16/2010

Today is my 11th wedding anniversary! ♥  To my Mackie:  I love you more with each passing second.  You are my strength, my best friend, my soul mate, my heart.  Thank you for being my all for 20 years! 
We went to the Gold Rush festival in Dahlonega today.  It's a tradition for our family to go.  I've only missed it twice, when I was too sick to get out of bed.  But I vow that I will never go back!  We had the worst experience today & it was just a waste of time & money.
Tomorrow is the Buddy Walk of Atlanta in Marietta.  I can't wait!  I finally finished the sign we'll be taking just a few minutes ago.  I've got the awareness ribbons ready for all of the members of Troy's Trekkers to pin on their shirts tomorrow.  We didn't have as many walkers as we would have liked to join us in our walk, but the people that love him the most will be there to support my son!  We weren't able to raise as much money as we would've liked either, but our pastor did donate $100 so we exceeded our goal.  I just hope we can find Glover Park!  I've been to Marietta twice in my life (White Water) so I'm going to be lost!  Good thing Mack is driving!  But I will go to the ends of the earth to support my Troy & all of the beautiful people with DS.

Friday, October 15, 2010

10/15/2010

As we prepare for the annual Buddy Walk of Atlanta on Sunday, I feel so blessed.  I think back on our journey up until this very day & I realize that God does have a plan for us.  We have had a LOT of hardships, sorrows, & rough times.  But we have also experienced more love, joy, & happiness than bad.  Everything that I have went through in my short 34 years ( & let me tell you that's A LOT) was well worth it to be where I am today.  I have the absolute best husband in the world.  I couldn't have hand made a better man & we're more in love today than we were the day we married.  We have 2 of the most awesome sons.  They were both sent to us from heaven above.  Chancey is so intelligent, kind hearted, handsome, loving...I could go on & on.  I couldn't imagine life without Troy's extra chromosome.  He is so adorable, determined, precious, & he's such a joy to be around.  My kids have made me more patient, understanding, kind, & gentle.  You really don't know real love until you find the love of your life, your soulmate, & you have children with them.  I can see myself & Mack in both of our boys.  If my kids grow up to be like their daddy, they will make awesome husbands & daddies one day.  Tomorrow I will celebrate my 11th wedding anniversary with Mack.  He has stood by my side through 5 miscarriages, atleast 7 surgeries, & chronic pancreatitis.  He has a wife that is legally disabled & will suffer with a chronic illness until the day one of us dies, but he loves me & has stood by my side.  When I was hospitalized for nearly a year in another county, he came to see me everyday (except the one time he had strep throat).  He works hard to provide for our family & he treats me like a queen.  I just couldn't imagine life without these 3 guys in my life.  They are the only ones on earth who will love me no matter what!   I am thankful for them & thank God for them everyday of my life!

Thursday, October 14, 2010

10/14/10

I will be starting a support group for parents with children living with Down syndrome in my area.  I am so excited!  Yesterday I received the contact info for the parents & immediately sent out emails telling them about myself & inviting them to join.  I think it would be great to be able to socialize with other parents & for Troy to finally meet some of his peers.  It would be awesome if some of the families also have kids without DS so Chancey can mentor them or even receive support from them.  I can imagine how hard it is to have a sibling with special needs.  I know that Chancey understands, but he was the only child for nearly 12 years & having a new brother was a huge adjustment, but you add the special needs part & it's even harder.  We try to spend as much time with Chancey as we do with Troy, but right now it's hard with him playing football & not getting home until 7:30 pm on most days.  But, HALLELUJAH, today is his last football game!  We will finally get on a more suitable routine again!  We do go to every football game to support Chancey & we still do the things he loves doing with him like before.  We aren't able to go to the movies any more, but we didn't really go to the theatre to watch movies before.  He is very supportive of Troy & he is a great advocate for DS.  He gets VERY angry when people use the "r" word & he will call people out when they do so.  He is very excited to go to the Buddy Walk this year & he wears last year's Buddy Walk t-shirt A LOT.  He has always had a kind, tender heart.  His cousin has Autism & we explained to him at an early age that people with special needs, are just that, people with special needs.  They can do the same things we all do, just maybe they do some things in a different way.  That special needs doesn't mean 'the r word' or handicapped.  They aren't disabled, just differently-abled.  Since we did instill that in him at a young age, he has always treated everyone equally.  He NEVER makes fun of anyone, instead he helps everyone.  I am just so proud of the young man that Chancey has become! 
I think that the frenum under Troy's tongue is limiting his speech.  He can't say certain sounds & I'm wondering if that's why.  We won't see his pediatrician again until he's 2, which is in January, but I will definitely ask him his thoughts on it.  We have worked on saying 'Elmo' for months now.  He says something, but it's not 'Elmo'.  I do know what he's saying when he says it, but others don't.  But that's okay for now.  He does make the 's' sound, so I'll just keep working with him & we'll see.

Wednesday, October 13, 2010

10/13/10

Troy turns 21 months old today!
I'm so happy that everything turned out fine with Troy's heart. He has an infection & will be on oral antibiotics for 3 more days, but he should be good to go this weekend! He slept 10 &1/2 hours last night without waking up once. His fever is now low grade & he's eating & playing normally. He's still a bit fussy & wants to be loved on A LOT, but that's okay with me! I love cuddling with my buddy.
Chancey went back to school today after having 5 days off. He has his VERY last football practice today & his VERY last game tomorrow. At his last practice he got hurt! He came home with a busted nose, a huge cut on his neck, & cuts & bruises on his face & arms because his helmet came off when he tackled someone. It scares me because it is a full contact sport, but this will be his first & last season. He says that he doesn't want to play again. I am glad too...he has broken 2 fingers & has been cut, scraped, bruised, & battered. I know, it's part of the game, but it's hard watching your baby get hurt. He doesn't complain though, he toughs it out & goes on. I am so proud of him! He started a new school, joined the football team, & has tried very hard.
Since all is well with Troy, we are allowing Chancey's friend to stay with us tonight & tomorrow night. Mack talked to the boy's father & we agreed that he could stay. I still don't understand why they couldn't go out of town when their kids were out of school for fall break, but I suppose the timing wasn't right. They don't have anyone & their son feels comfortable at our house so I am honored that he chose us. I know how it is to need help & no one is there to give you that help.
Mack went into work last night & asked the supervisor if he knew if they had to work this weekend. His supervisor said he didn't know yet. Mack said, "Oh, it's my anniversary Saturday & I hope we're off at least Saturday night (which would be his Sunday). So when his supervisor talked to the supervisor over the plant, he told him that he'd be coming in on Saturday instead of Mack. That was SUPER nice of him! See, the supervisors are paid salary & when the lines work on weekends, they don't have to. So on the weekends Mack is the supervisor & the line leader. I just think that was very kind of him to do for us...Mack didn't even ask off & his supervisor took it upon himself to give him the time off. There are good people left in this world! So this means that Mack will be off on Saturday night & Sunday night (because of the Buddy Walk). That's the best present in the universe!

Tuesday, October 12, 2010

10/12/10

Well, we've had a ROUGH past few days. Troy spiked a fever early yesterday afternoon & it hasn't broke yet. We have slept a grand total of 3 hours! We should know more of what's going on this afternoon.
Troy was supposed to have PT this afternoon, but we had to cancel that appointment. :( I was so excited to show Linda Troy's progress. There's always next time.
I feel awful as well, which makes us encouraged that it's not his heart. Since we both have compromised immune systems, we tend to pick up every little virus, cold, etc. But I know what hurts & I can take something for my symptoms. He can't tell me what's going on...whether he's hot or cold, if his head hurts, if his throat is sore, etc. All of this just in time for my anniversary (again this year) & the Buddy Walk. But it's still early in the week so maybe we can nip this in the bud before Saturday.
Chancey is at his best friend's house & I sure am glad! He doesn't need to be around all of this mess. Plus seeing his brother & mama suffering upsets him so bad.
Chancey has a new friend that he met at school this year.  He has spent the night with Chancey twice so far & we barely know him or his family.  Then out of the blue yesterday the little boy calls & asks to stay with us on Wednesday & Thursday because his parents are going out of town.  Uh, WHAT?  Out of town during a school week?  They have been out of school on fall break since last Friday & they go back tomorrow.  Why didn't they all go out of town then?  I just don't think that I could trust strangers with my kids while I go on vacation...maybe I am just overprotective.  But then again his parents haven't called me to officially ask me if he could stay, which is totally out of the question now that my Troy is so sick.

Monday, October 11, 2010

10/11/10

I think that all OB/GYN & Perinatalogist offices should have a brochure for parents that have just received the DX of Down syndrome in their baby.  Not one made up by doctors about "possible" complications or "common disorders" but one made up by actual parents of a child with Down syndrome.  I remember when my perinatalogist told me that my son had a 1% chance of having DS (because the he noticed a slight thickening in his neck) going home & researching DS.  I looked at so many different websites that had so many negative things.  I was just overwhelmed!  I am one to prepare for the worst possible scenario so I was just heart broken to think that my child "could" have all of these "possible" complications or "common disorders."  I don't remember seeing one positive thing.  So I decided not to research any longer.  I had prepared myself enough, or so I thought.  Once Troy was born, I realized that I knew all about the medical complications but nothing about how day to day life would be.   I had let the overwhelming information discourage my research....& I needed to know everything.  But as I began the research again, I noticed that I read the same negative material.  But this time I knew exactly which of the "possible" complications & "common disorders" that my son had.  Now I could focus on those instead of the others.  I learned that my son would grow slowly & that his fontanelle (soft spot) would not close as soon as Chancey's did because of the slow growth.  Then I learned that his bones would grow a little slower causing his teeth to erupt slower & in an unusual order.  Then I found out that most males with DS are sterile...which broke my heart because I want grand kids from all of my kids (but he can always adopt).  But none of the material told me to be patient, he'll do everything that typical kids do, it will just take him a few more tries to master the skill.  No where did I read that my son would be so determined to do those things that it would amaze me beyond belief.  It didn't say that my son would LOVE those that LOVE him in return & that his love would be so pure.  I can't recall reading that his infectious smile would melt my heart & that just being near him would fill my soul with such joy.  It didn't prepare me for the love & respect that I'd feel for this beautiful boy.  He has touched my life in so many ways & has brought so many blessings on me that I resent that doctor for even mentioning the word 'terminate' to me.  Now I can't imagine life without Troy.  So I wish that I could personally talk to each & every parent that has just received the DS DX.  Maybe then the statistics would be different (90% of parents terminate their pregnancy after receiving the news that their baby has DS).  Actually, I could just show them my brave little son & he could do the talking for me!

Sunday, October 10, 2010

10/10/10

We had a blast yesterday at the Mule Camp festival & at the Cumming Country Fair!  I just wish we could've stayed longer at the fair...we had to leave so Mack could get ready for work.  Next year we will have to dedicate a day just for the fair! 
We got up this morning & went to the early worship service so Mack could come home & go to bed.  Our pastor told us after the service that he wants to donate $100 to Troy's Trekkers!  I really wasn't surprised because he, his family & our associate pastor & his family are just wonderful people.  You couldn't ask for better.  I know that they'd walk in the Buddy Walk if it wasn't on Sunday.  Anyway, got little side tracked there, we had a great service.  Then we came home, Mack went to bed, & I fed Troy.  Then Chancey, Troy, & I went to lunch...well breakfast at Waffle House.  As we were pulling in to the restaraunt, I noticed a little boy & his family getting into their van.  I said to Chancey, "Awe, look, he has Down syndrome."  We LOVE seeing other kids with DS or any special needs...it just warms my heart.  I parked & began to get Troy out of his car seat.  We started to walk to the door & the van passed by us...the entire family waved at us.  Chancey said, "Mama, they knew (meaning that Troy has DS)."  We don't care that anyone knows he has DS, we LOVE sharing our story, just no one ever mention it or asks.  We had a nice breakfast, other than the obnoxious kids behind us cussing every other breath.  I had to go to get a poster board & some more supplies to make Troy's poster for the Buddy Walk, so we went to Dollar General.  As we were checking out, the manager was talking to Troy.  Usually people do not say anything to me about Troy having DS.  I don't know if people just don't want to say something to upset me or if they just don't notice.  But she took time to take the paper off of the football I bought for him & she personally handed it to him.  She doted on how cute he was & waved at him & talked to him the entire time.  Then as we were leaving, she said to me "Ma'am, you are one lucky woman & you have one special little boy.  You are very special."  I replied, "I know, thank you.  But both of my boys are special to me."  As we walked to the car, I said "I guess she noticed that he has Down syndrome."  Chancey said, "Yeah, but she told us something that we knew already."  I thought he was talking about the fact that Troy has DS.  Then he said, "Because we already know that you are special!"  I had to fight back the tears so I took a little longer to buckle Troy in his car seat.  It's times like that when I do feel special!  Not because someone that doesn't even know my story calls me special, but because to my son I AM special.   

Saturday, October 9, 2010

10/9/10

Mack had to work last night & has to work again tonight...BOO!  But I guess the money will come in handy with Christmas fastly approaching.  Atleast I know he'll be off next Sunday night.  I sure hope he's off next Saturday too because it's our wedding anniversary.  I'm not to keen on celebrating though.  Last year on our 19th anniversary of the day we met is the day that we had to rush Troy to Egleston...the next morning is when he crashed & had to be put on life support.  Then on our wedding anniversary last year, we had a perfect evening planned & we had to rush Troy to Egleston AGAIN!  We ended up having our celebratory meal at Olive Garden after the Buddy Walk 2 days later.  But if he does have to work on Saturday night, we'll make the best of it.  With Troy's sensory issues, we can't go to a noisy place to eat, like Texas Roadhouse or Chili's & if we go to Olive Garden we have to go EARLY or wait forever.  We'll just have to play it by ear, I suppose!
Since Mack had to work, we'll have to do all of the things I had planned a little later than I wanted to.  I want to go to the Mule Camp festival here & then the Cumming Country Fair.  I wanted to go to the fair last night, but Chancey wanted his friend to come & he couldn't come until later in the evening...so hopefully I'll get to go before Mack goes to work tonight.  I can't ride anything with my back & Mack DOESN'T ride anything, but going to the fair reminds me of when Mack took me back in 1990...it was just perfect.  Plus Chancey is like me, he loves rides so he can enjoy it.  Making my kids happy makes me happy.  Maybe I can atleast ride the ferris wheel with Chancey. 
The Buddy Walk of Atlanta is next Sunday!  YAY!  I loved the Buddy Walk last year & we're all so excited to go this year.   I just wish we had more walkers for our team.  It just breaks my heart that we only have 7 walkers to support Troy.  But with it being on Sunday it is hard for people to justify missing church to drive 2 hours to walk 1/2 a mile.  I know that times are tough so it's hard for people to donate as well.  But I did order our team shirts yesterday!  Then I went to Michael's & bought the foam stickers for the poster we're making.  While I was there, I noticed that they had all of the supplies that I needed to make shirts myself.  I made our's last year, but A LOT of the teams had their shirts made & they all looked so nice so I ordered ours.  The shirts I ordered ended up only costing $8 per shirt...can't beat that. 

Friday, October 8, 2010

10/8/10

Down syndrome creed
My face may be different
but my feelings are the same
I laugh & I cry
And I take pride in my gains
I was sent here among you
To teach you to love
As God in heaven
Looks down from above
To Him I'm no different
His love knows no bounds
It's those here among you
In cities & towns
That judge me by standards
That man has imparted
But this family I've chosen
Will help me get started
For I'm one of the children
So special & few
That came here to learn
The same lessons as you
That love is acceptance
It must come from the heart
We all have the same purpose
Though not the same start
The Lord gave me life
To live & embrace
And I'll do as you do
But at my own pace.

Thursday, October 7, 2010

10/7/10

As we are working diligently to get Oprah to do a show on DS, I have heard several people say that we'd have to get someone famous with a DS connection for her to listen to us.  So I began researching that very topic.  I thought I'd use that as my blog for today. 

Sarah Palin (politician, former Alaskan governor) - son, Trigg
John C. McGinley (actor) - son, Max
Eva Longoria Parker (actress) - sister, Elizabeth
Jamie Foxx (actor, singer) - sister, DeOndra
Arthur Miller (playwright) - son, Daniel
David Ragan (NASCAR driver) - brother, Adam
Joe Diffie (country music singer), - son, Tyler
Albert Pujols (St. Louis Cardinals first baseman) - daughter, Isabella
Charles de Gaulle (French military leader) - daughter, Anne
Gene Stallings (Arizona Cardinals head coach) - son, Johnny
Beau Geisler (Stockton Thunder defenseman-hockey) - twin sons, Wyatt & Bryce
Bob Hennefer (Pro golfer) - son, Brad
Buddy Bell (retired baseball player & manager) - daughter, Tracy
Cullen Douglas (actor) - son, Gabriel
Trent Whitfield (Peoria Riverman captain-hockey) daughter, Alstyn
Damon Hill (Formula One driver '90's) - son, Oliver
Rex Hudler (retired baseball player & Angels announcer) - son, Cade
Emily Perl Kingsley (Sesame Street writer & author of Welcome to Holland) - son, Jason
Jim O'Brien (Indiana Pacers coach) - daughter, Caitlyn
Heath Bell ( San Diego Padres pitcher) - daughter, Jordyn
Roy Rogers & Dale Evans (actor & actress) - daughter, Robin
Julie Newmar (actress) - son, John
Hubert Humphrey (former Vice President) - granddaughter, Victoria
Pete Sessions (Texas Congressman) - son, Alex
Lowell Weicker (former governor of Connecticut) - son, Jonathan
Beverly Beckham (writer for Boston Globe) - granddaughter, Lucy
George Will (journalist) - son, Jon
Cathy McMorris Rodgers (Washington Congresswoman) - son, Cole
Charles Darwin (naturalist) - son, Charles W. Darwin
Halle Berry (actress) - nephew
Frank Sesno (CNN special correspondent) - sister
Aaron Beasley (Atlanta Falcons player) - uncle

Wednesday, October 6, 2010

10/6/10

With the Buddy Walk of Atlanta approaching, I wanted to share some facts & myths about Down syndrome.  Everyone needs to be educated about Down syndrome!
Named after John Langdon Down, the first physician to identify the syndrome, Down syndrome is the most frequent genetic cause of mild to moderate intellectual and developmental disabilities and associated medical problems and occurs in one out of 800 live births, in all races and economic groups. Down syndrome is a chromosomal disorder caused by an error in cell division that results in the presence of an additional third chromosome 21 or "trisomy 21."

Some of the most common characteristics of people with Down syndrome include:
· A flattened appearance to the face
· A high, broad forehead
· An upward slant to the eyes
· A narrow slit to the eyes
· Pronounced bags or folds under the eyes
· A small, depressed nose
· Small ears
· Ears set quite low to the face
· A small mouth
· A large or protruding tongue
· A short neck
· Short arms and legs
· Short fingers and toes
· Large space between the first and second toe
· A single, deep crease in the center of the palm
· A smaller head, proportionately
· Poor muscle tone (hypotonia)
· Loose joints (hyperflexability)
· Weak reflexes

There are several medical concerns that are specific to Down syndrome, or at the very least, occur in much higher incidence than in people who do not have the condition. However, with proper identification, information, and treatment of the medical issues of children and adults with Down syndrome, most people with the condition live a fairly long and health life. The current average life span of a person with Down syndrome is fifty-five years, with many living decades longer.

The most serious of the medical characteristics associated with Down syndrome is cardiac abnormalities. Approximately 40% of all children born with the condition have congenital heart defects, and many of them are serious in nature. Proper cardiac monitoring of children with Down syndrome is imperative, and should begin as soon the child is born, or the condition is identified. Many of the heart problems experienced by people with Down syndrome are progressive. Medication and lifelong cardiac following is not uncommon, and in some cases, heart surgery may be indicated.

Children with Down syndrome also commonly exhibit a depressed immune system. Because of this, they tend have a higher incidence of infection, and respiratory problems, not to mention frequency of the usual cough, cold and flu viruses experienced my all children.

Other medical problems include epilepsy, vision and hearing problems, gastrointestinal and thyroid problems, skin problems, and various other medical conditions. People with Down syndrome also have a strong tendency toward developing obesity.

There is an extremely wide disparity among people with Down syndrome in the issues of cognitive or developmental delay. With very few exceptions, people with Down syndrome exhibit some developmental problems, but the range can span from almost imperceivable to severe, or profound.

Many people with Down syndrome can attend school with their non Down syndrome peers, attain higher education, and work full time at jobs in the community with little or not assistance. Others require more help and may either attend special education classes in their school or a school for the developmentally delayed. They may also require residential and workplace assistance in a structured environment.

Behaviorally and interpersonally, one of the most striking common traits among a large percentage of people with Down syndrome is a loving and affectionate nature. It is not uncommon for a person with the condition to bond easily and frequently with others, including with strangers or people they know only a little.

Tuesday, October 5, 2010

10/5/10

When we received the news that our son could have Down syndrome, I began to research it immediately.  The information was pretty general in telling us what to expect.  I really didn't learn anything more than I knew before researching Down syndrome.  I was highly disappointed!  I remember thinking, "Why doesn't a parent with a child with Down syndrome create a website for expectant parents just like me?!"  I wanted to prepare myself for the worst that way I wouldn't be crushed if the worst case scenario happened & I just kept reading & hearing that the severity varies...you really don't know until your child is born & develops.  I was not ready for that.  I wanted information right then because I am very impatient.  I tried to accept that I wouldn't know what to expect until he was born, but that was an awful long 7 months to have to wait!  Then we really wouldn't know his mental capacity, physical strength, or social skills so I'd have to wait even longer!  It really didn't matter because I loved my child from the time I found out that I was pregnant, but I needed to prepare myself.  I am ashamed now to have been so vain, but I was.  I knew that God had gave me the child that He wanted me to have so I just prayed for God's strength & wisdom.  As each day passed, I found myself not worrying about things as much...since I had left it at God's feet I knew He would walk by my side through each & every day.  And He has walked with me & my family each step of every day.  My son may not be perfect to anyone else, but he is perfect to me, my husband, Chancey, & GOD...that's all that really matters.  Troy can't communicate like most 20 month old children can, but we understand him.  He can't walk without assistance just yet, but we will carry him until he can.  He doesn't eat like typical children, but he is well nourished.  He doesn't look like other children his age, but he is the most handsome toddler to us...no one compares to Troy.  Troy has small ears, a bridge-less nose, almond shaped eyes, & a small stature, but he's still the spitting image of his daddy!  Other children hit their milestones & their parents dote for a little while & write it in their baby book, but when Troy hits a milestone we will never forget it!  You can ask me when a certain milestone happened & I can tell you what day it happened & I might be able to tell you what he was wearing (LOL).  He is the most loving person you'll ever meet!  He loves to snuggle & give kisses....he even blows kisses & waves to strangers.  He will try to imitate everything you do, he may not do it the way you just did it, but he will give it his all.  He's very determined, strong, & STUBBORN!  How many people do you know that has had 2 open heart surgeries that were 2 months apart & bounce back like nothing ever happened...never a whimper or one single complaint?  I know he was too young to complain, but he was such a trooper through it all...he even rolled over & was pushing up on his arms just 2 & 1/2 weeks after his 2nd surgery.  He is a miracle in so many ways!  Yes, he is different from typical children...but typical is boring!  When you look at him, you may see another child with Down syndrome, but when I look at him, I see an angel here on Earth sent straight from the hands of God just for me & my family.

Monday, October 4, 2010

10/4/10

I intended to blog about my entire family everyday of this 31 for 21 blog challenge, but after watching last night's 'Extreme Makeover Home Edition', I had to dedicated today's blog about Down Syndrome.
There are a lot of people out there that really do not know exactly what Down Syndrome is.  Sadly, I know I didn't until it affected me & my family.  Luckily I found out very early in my pregnancy that my son had DS.  As soon as the perinatalogist mentioned that he could have DS I began researching it.  I found out that 1 in 733 pregnancies are affected by DS, so I thought that it was a common occurrence.  But as I kept on reading it said that 90% of the pregnancies are terminated.  Then I read about all of the medical problems that are more common in people with DS & then I saw the "R" word...I began to cry.  Just the thought that my son would be considered 'retarded' & would be called that all of his life just broke my heart.  My husband, Mack, & I talked about the possibility of our child having DS & he told me that it was just that, a possibility because nothing had been determined...we hadn't received the CVS results yet.  I was hopeful, yet upset that my child could be different from other children.  I kept on researching & praying.  Then I received the news.  My child was a boy & he DID have Trisomy 21 or Down Syndrome.  The doctor told me that I needed to make a decision on whether or not I wanted to terminate soon because we couldn't terminate after a certain date, which was fast approaching.  My husband & I talked again because I wasn't sure he wanted this.  See, I have Chronic Pancreatitis & at the time I couldn't even take care of myself on most days, much less a child with special needs.  We discussed it & both agreed that God gave us this special child for a reason.  We had tried for 9 years to have another baby but weren't successful.  I began to think positive, after all God wouldn't give us more than we could handle.  Then we learned that our son had a heart defect that would require surgery before he was 6 months old.  That little set back didn't affect me as bad as I thought it would.  I think it's because I had done the research & knew that over 1/2 the babies with DS have heart defects.  We met with a Pediatric Cardiologist & she chased away all of our doubts & fears.  I began to get stronger & feel much better of the next few months.  Things were looking up!  We were prepared the best we could be for our son.  We wouldn't know the level of his functionality (the severeness of his DS) or the exact condition of his heart until he was born.  But I just couldn't wait to meet this little miracle & hear his cry.  I was admitted to the hospital on the evening of January 12, 2009 to be induced.  The next morning, Dr. Lake tried to break my water around 8 a.m. with no success.  So he began the Pitocin & said he'd come back around lunchtime to try to break my water again.  He explained that since my son has DS that he didn't want to drop down & that the Pitocin should help him do that.  He came back & was able to break my water around 12 p.m.  My labor produced QUICK!  Troy Jason Forrester was born at 2:16 p.m. on January 13, 2009!  He was 20" long & weighed 7 lbs 7 oz & was screaming at the top of his lungs...HOORAY!  We were able to hold him for a little while before they took him to the NICU.  He was just beautiful & perfect in my eyes!  The first thing Mack looked for was the Simian crease (which is where the hands have one single crease in the palms) & he didn't have it.  He did have the beautiful almond shaped eyes & the flat bridge across his nose, but other than that, he looked just like his daddy to me!  He didn't have the thick neck either, but if he did have all of the characteristics we'd love him just the same.  He didn't look any different to any of us than any other child without DS, but he did have one thing that a lot of children are born without...unconditional love.  His brother was awe struck.  He had waited for Troy for so long & he couldn't see him because he couldn't go to the NICU.  We had temperatures in the teens for the high & my son stood outside the window of the NICU (OUTSIDE) just to see his brother...now that's love!  Troy had to stay in the NICU for 2 days to monitor his heart & he had some trouble eating.  But he was able to leave the NICU around 11 a.m. on 1/15/10.  Mack rushed to check Chancey out of school so he could see Troy.  It just warmed my heart to see the love between them.  Troy had to be circumcised & an hour after that he could go home.  We made it home around 9 p.m. that night.  So life began with a family of 4!

Sunday, October 3, 2010

10/3/10

We went to the 9:45 service this morning since Mack had to work last night.  It was a wonderful sermon, as usual.  I brought Mack home so he could go to sleep & I went ahead & fed Troy his lunch.  Chancey, Troy, & I went to eat lunch at La Parilla...figured we'd get our Mexican food fix while we could since Mack doesn't like it.  We went to Walmart & shopped a little bit, mainly just to get out of the house so Mack could have some peace & quiet (not that he needs it...he could sleep through anything).  I loved spending that quality time with both of my boys.  I miss Chancey so much now that he's going to school & playing football!  He leaves the house at 7:45 each morning & gets home around 7:30 each evening.  So this time was really needed!  He only has 2 more weeks of football left & I'll be glad when it's all said & done.  He doesn't want to play again next year after the year he has had.  I went ahead & bought a rotisserie chicken for us to have for supper while we were out...this way I only have to make some sides to have with it since I don't know when Mack will get up today.  Not to mention that I've had a dreadful migraine since Friday afternoon & I just don't feel like going out or cooking much. 
I was really surprised to find out that one of Mack's friends had made a donation online to Troy's Trekkers!  It is our very first donation to the Buddy Walk & I hope it's not the last.  The Buddy Walk is 2 weeks from today!

10/2/10

Mack has to work tonight & I am not happy about it one bit!  But atleast he has a job in this poor economy & he'll be getting paid double time since it's his Sunday.  We spent the day all together!  :)  We had a nice lunch then headed to the Fall Festival at Flowery Branch.  Then we went shopping at Target & Mack went to Home Depot (only because it was right near Target...otherwise he would've went to Lowe's) to get some things to finish the baby gate.  We came home & Troy's new Hip Helpers were in our mailbox...YAY (thanks to Toni)!  Troy's PT suggested the Hip Helpers to keep him from doing the 'split' to get in & out of sitting.  She says that they will help train his brain not to do that anymore by hindering him from doing the 'split'.  So far, so good.  I was a little hesitant when I heard about them because Troy is very stubborn & I was afraid that he'd hate them, but he doesn't mind them at all.  As soon as I put them on him, I could see an instant difference!  He's more confident now.  Before he wanted me to put my hands on his side before he'd pull up on his walker or the furniture...he would pull himself up, he just wanted my touch, but now he does it on his own!  He even sits down from standing, where before he'd slide down until he was laying down.  It's amazing that these little Hip Helpers are assisting him in this way!
Mack finally finished the baby gate & I love it!  After he finished it, I cut his hair & he went outside to throw the football with Chancey.  We went to eat supper at Sun Garden, then came home to watch the Bama/Florida game.

10/1/2010

Mack was off work today & we went shopping.  Troy's PT says that he needs an activity walker that will turn when he pushes it so we hunted all day for one with no success.  He already has a walker & an activity walker, but the activity walker he has doesn't have wheels that turn...they just go straight.  She told me what to buy & described it to me but the wheels don't turn on it....I'm just going to ask her again when I see her on the 12th.
Chancey has his first dance at SHMS today after school!  I hope he has a great time.
Mack started working on the baby gate for the kitchen today.  Our living room, dining room, & kitchen are pretty much an open space so we can't find a premade gate that will fit.  We just can't contain Troy in one space without a barricade & he gets through the ones we put up!