Monday, October 31, 2011

Miss Owlie

Oh yes, she is the cutest of them all...



Sunday, October 30, 2011

Spooktastic

Last night the kids rocked it out mutant style.


We had the famous Leonardo & Raphel.


Everett had some muscle milk to pump up the biceps.


We had enough weapons to take down Maggie's clan.


Ollie was the famous rat, Splinter (the wise martial arts teacher for the turtles)


She proves her mad martial art skills here with a swift kick to Penelope the cat's chest.


Their favorite spot was seeing Toots & Howard at their new digs - all the tenants were gathered in the lobby handing out candy & my kids hit the lottery big time there!  


With buckets full at 8:00, Everett asked if we could please go home because he wanted to go to bed.

Success!





PS - if anyone sees Aubrie's missing weapon please call our tip line 1-800-CRY-HARD - she desperately wants it back.

Saturday, October 29, 2011

Pity No More

When Jade & I first learned Ollie had a major heart defect and most likely had DS we wrote this blog to share the facts with everyone.  That way it came from our mouths and all the facts were true and laid out.

We needed the prayers of strength and support of our family and friends to help us grieve what we thought we lost and to forge forward for the daughter we had.

We received countless prayers & that was amazing & strengthening.  God heard our cries.  I felt at peace most of the time.

We also received pity.

Pity is probably one of the worst things.  I hated it.  I knew it was out of the goodness of peoples hearts, and that they didn't know what to say other than "I'm so sorry" or "God picked you because you are special and it takes a special mother to raise a child like her".  But the words hurt. 

Now this is fully how I felt, my opinion and other moms may disagree, but I hated it more than anything.  I hated that people didn't know how to act around me so they avoided me.  I hated the eyes coming sideways wondering what to say, how to approach me.  I hated that people acted like my world had ended and that my baby was dead.


So what did I do?

This may sound crazy to some, but I raised my level of expectations.

I quickly adjusted to the idea of a daughter with DS and poured myself into blogs that had families with someone that had DS.  It was my medicine.  It was my gold.  I built amazing friendships with women I have never met, but trust me one day I will meet them all!

From that point forward I knew I could do it.  I dreaded open heart surgery, but I knew I could handle DS.  I was still scared, but I knew I loved this baby girl unconditionally.  I started telling people how I expected them to feel about my daughter.  I said don't feel sorry for me, we celebrate this child.  We are still in love with this baby.


I blogged about how wonderful she was going to be.  I laid it out there for everyone.  I never blatantly said don't pity me, but I placed the idea in their head that we viewed her as a blessing, as a gift (and honestly she is a huge gift) and eventually people learned that she was the same.  They have learned that she is much more than a diagnosis on paper.

I no longer receive the I'm sorry statements.  Instead I get the she's so beautiful, she's so strong, she's so tough, she is such a blessing, you are so lucky to have her.  That's right, people rose to my expectations & have learned that the diagnosis of Down Syndrome isn't the end of the world.  How's that for positive thinking?!?  So I urge you, raise the bar - if you have a loved one with news like I recieved - give them a hug, tell them you love them, pray for them, shoot give them my email address...but don't pity them, don't tell them you are sorry because soon they will be where I am today and they will be thankful for their bundle of chub.

Ollie has educated many with her cheesy grin and chubby rolls.  Now that I'm in this "club", I wish others were in it too.  You see,very rarely does someone else get blessed with a baby that has Down Syndrome.  God selects the lucky few!  Jade & I can not create another baby with Down Syndrome - it'd be extremely impossible.  1 in over 1000.  That's why she's so stinking special.  She's one of a kind. 


God didn't give us her because we were the perfect accepting family.  That we were the perfect parents, because trust me this is the farthest from the truth - special needs used to terrify  me!  He in fact gave us her because WE NEEDED her.  We needed to learn some life lessons. 

God broke us down to build our faith up.  He has showed us compassion, patience, trust, acceptance, forgiveness (yes we were a bit angry with God), and the undeniable amount of love you hold for your child no matter a chromosome count.  My word - God has changed US, by giving us the most beautiful gift, a gorgeous child that society thinks is imperfect, but that is truly perfectly made by him. 

Thank you God for pouring out your blessings onto my sweet family & anyone else lucky enough to kiss the cheeks of "imperfection".  I now know that nothing in this world is a mistake, it's all a part of God's big plan.

I love my life with my handsome husband & 3 beautifully created kids!





Friday, October 28, 2011

Reece's Rainbow

In other countries Down Syndrome isn't completely understood.  For this reason, hundreds of children are sitting in orphanages waiting for families to adopt them.  There is an organization called Reece's Rainbow that is helping people adopt and bring these kiddos home. 

Here is their purpose:
The mission of Reece's Rainbow is to rescue orphans with Down syndrome through the gift of adoption, to raise awareness for all of the children who are waiting in 25 countries around the world, and to raise funds as adoption grants that help adoptive families afford the high cost of adopting these beautiful children.



When these children do not get adopted, around age 5 they are sent into adult mental institutions where a majority of them die.  It breaks my heart.

I ask you for the upcoming holiday season to donate to this amazing fund & be an angel for one of these children.  Here is a link to the 2011 Angel Tree that begins 11-1-11.

$35 to you may not mean much, but to one of these angels it means their life!


Get Fit!

I'm doing a November fitness challenge.  If you want to make a lifestyle change please email me at housethatjadebuilt@gmail.com.

I'm taking the first 5 people to commit.  If I have learned anything through Ollie it is that you can't buy health.  You get one shot at it!  I am getting my body back & changing my lifestyle so that I am able to play with my kids and be around a long time.  My goal is to teach them the importance of healthy eating and exercise too.


When I committed to doing this same challenge in late June - I was 157 pounds and 5'4".  Today I'm 135 pounds.  I have lost 22 pounds and I'm not kidding you the changes in how I physically feel are amazing.  No more knee pain, I'm not tired when I wake up, I can enjoy my kids without bending over to catch a breath.  I also am wearing jeans I like which is an added self confidence boost!  It's not about the size and weight for me, but how I feel & I am so thankful I committed and followed through!


So what does this entail?  It's simple really.  You pick a program from above (we have high or low intensity programs).  In a bundle you get the program, 30 days of Shakeology (my biggest tool to cut cravings & boost energy), and a 30 day club membership (meal plans & recipes for your entire family & kids will eat this - it's normal food & teaches you how to cook healthy!!)

When you commit - I add you to an accountability group of other peope just like you.  It's a private group & we communicate daily - we motivate, support, share struggles, and share success.  You don't do it alone - you have a team of friends doing it with you & I promise you this accountability motivates you to actually do it - not buy workout dvds that sit with dust on them, but you push play daily & I promise you get real results!

So please stop wishing you could lose weight & join me & we will do it together!

Rolls

The rolls are here - I kiss them daily...




Thursday, October 27, 2011

Sharing The Knowledge

I decided to compose a list of things I wish people knew about Down Syndrome...

1.  That anyone can have a child with Down Syndrome, it's not something Jade or I did wrong, we just got very lucky!  I was 28 and Jade was 30.  We both were exercising and eating healthy.   

2.  As a Mom I worried that I would be disappointed with Ollie at birth if she had Down Syndrome.  Immediately after I had her I held her and she gave me this sheepish smile - I melted.  Nearly 9 months later I am not disappointed in her at all - she is amazing!

3.  That the word retarded is outdated.  It's now called cognitively delayed.  Society has twisted the word retarded into a negative hate word.  Please try to stop using it. 

4.  People with Down Syndrome have 47 chromosomes instead of 46.  Chromosomes are in pairs, but Ollie has 3 of the 21st chromosome. 

5.  That people with Down Syndrome look more like their family than others.  Yes, Ollie has characteristics that she shares with other people with Down Syndrome, but she looks so much like her sister Aubrie & so much like her brother Everett.

6.  That people with Down Syndrome are more alike than different.  They are still people!  They live, they laugh, they love, they have hearts, and souls.  They deserve respect.

7.  That Ollie will benefit from having siblings, and her siblings will benefit from her.  I hope that my older children develop to be more caring, understanding, patient, compassionate people because of their sister.  And I hope my older children push Ollie to be the best that she can be.  I hope because of them she will work harder to achieve her goals.

8.  People with Down Syndrome commonly have more health issues to worry about:  heart defects, intestinal blockages, thyroid issues, leukemia, alzheimers, the list goes on and on - but with modern medicine & amazing Down Syndrome clinics it makes life medically speaking a lot easier.  The Down Syndrome clinics make sure everything is being evaluted & taken care of.

9.  Life with Down Syndrome is different, but it's just like anyone elses life.  We never know what God is going to hand us.  Our health, our children's health, nothing is certain & what may be today may change tomorrow.  Life with Down Syndrome has made me acutely aware of this, and it has made me enjoy every single day to the fullest!

10.  People with Down Syndrome do not suffer.  I've read way too many times that they suffer.  They don't.  My goal in life is to make Ollie feel loved and adored, and I know she is.  I also know that she loves us in return.  It's in her eyes - it's undeniable!


Wednesday, October 26, 2011

Badge of Courage

I have a soft spot for heart heroes.

Especially babies walking this journey.

So today I ask you to pray for baby Maddoc and his family.  They are anxiously awaiting a surgical date.  I know they would appreciate your prayers and support during this time!


As always thank you prayer warriors!!



Tuesday, October 25, 2011

Daddy & Me

Ollie enjoys her Daddy time every night.


Tiny lays by him and basks in his beauty.


She laughs & plays.


She loves to yell and get rowdy.


Then she shows him her mad leg kick skills.  When he's too involved in Cardinals baseball - she just does a swift kick in the chest to bring his focus back to her!




PS - this is weird, but I know there is some confusion on how to pronounce Ollie Faith's name.  It's just like Molly or Holly but no consonant at the front :)

Monday, October 24, 2011

Fighting Mad

Penelope is quickly gaining on Ollie Faith in size.

Ollie Faith weighs in at 15 pounds 4 ounces at 8 months of age.


Penelope is 8 weeks old and a whopping 12 pounds 13 ounces.


Lucky for Ollie, Penelope is still immobile - it renders her helpless when Ollie puts the smack down on her!  I think Ollie's days are numbered!

Sunday, October 23, 2011

Saturday, October 22, 2011

Kicking the day off right




With smiles like you greeting you first thing in the morning - how can you not have a great day?

(clearly they have pop tart mustaches!)

Friday, October 21, 2011

Cut-a-thon - Thank you!!

Last Saturday Maggie hosted a cut-a-thon for the Down Syndrome Research & Treatment Foundation.  To say it was an awesome day is an understatement.  Our community supported us, and loved on us by donating $2085.42 at last count with a few donations still rolling in!

Thank you everyone that came out to say hi, to donate, that gave raffle baskets, etc.  It truly means the world to me and my family!

Also a huge thank you to Maggie, Casey, & Brittany for donating your time and 100% of the money earned this day - I love you girls!!










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