Saturday, October 4, 2014

Sister Love

I love this picture that I snapped the very first time Antalya held her little sister, Victoria. The love and excitement she felt was overflowing. Now, five years later, these two are best buds.

A year ago, I saw that same love reborn again when Antalya held her little brother, Hinckley. 

She loves him through and through! 
Tonight we were in all in the car and Hinckley was not happy about something. So Antalya started singing him some songs. After a couple minutes he calmed right down. 

Whenever her siblings need someone, Antalya is right there! 
I pray that as they get older they will realize what a blessing it is to have a sister that loves them with a love not many possess. 

Thursday, October 2, 2014

Our Family

Since it's been a couple years since this blog has really been active, I thought it would be good to give a short introduction about our family for those of you who don't know us in real life.

This is us! My most favorite family in the world…although I admit I am completely biased.

We're currently living in Las Vegas, Nevada, but we have a pattern of moving every couple years. We've lived in Utah, spent a couple years in London when the girls were really little, and who knows where the wind will blow us next.

Antalya will be turning 8 next week. She's in 2nd grade and in a typical classroom. She gets pulled out during the day for extra help in math, writing, and speech therapy. She loves to sing, dance, and make other people laugh. She loves school, or at least most of the time. She is a bookworm - she takes books with her everywhere she goes.

I remember going to a doctor's appointment when she was just a few months old and meeting another mother who had a child several years older who also had Down syndrome. She said the best advice she could give me was to encourage books. So I tried to surround Antalya with books. I let her chew on them when she was an infant, and color in them when she was a toddler, and dump out dozens and dozens of books onto the floor everyday. I don't know if any of that helped, but I do know the girl loves books, more so than any of my other kids.

My advice to any mother who is new on a journey with Down syndrome would be the same, but I would also add to start teaching your little one sight words when she is three. Learning to read makes all the difference!

Victoria is 5 and loves kindergarten. She is a ballerina at heart, and is in constant motion nearly every second of the day. Recently she decided when she grows up she want to be a singer part of the time, and a pop-star the rest of the time. Then when she didn't want to just be a singer, she could be a singer and dancer at the same time. She is my extra hands and eyes making sure her sister and brother stay safe.

Hinckley is the babe of the group at 18 months. He loves strawberry jam, popcorn, dogs, creating messes, climbing countertops, and being outside. At any given moment he is sure to have either a fat lip, or a bruise on his forehead. He keeps me on my toes.

Jason is my most favorite person in the whole world. We've been married ten years, and I couldn't imagine making my way through life without him by my side.

And then there's me. When I'm not chasing kids, on a date with my hubby, cleaning the kitchen, or painting furniture, it's schoolwork for me. I'm almost through a degree in Communication Disorders that I started two years ago.

And that's us…in a nut shell.

Wednesday, October 1, 2014

I'm In...

Happy October! This month is National Down Syndrome Awareness month. It's been several years since I've participated in the 31 for 21 challenge (a blogpost every day all month long in support of Down Syndrome). Too, be honest, when I woke up and realized October had begun, and remembered about the 31 for 21 challenge, I dismissed the notion as quickly as it came.

But as I dropped my 5 year old off at Kindergarten and headed home I started asking myself if there was any value in making a return to the Down syndrome blogging world. I don't currently participate actively in any Down syndrome organization or support group. And to be honest, I don't think Down syndrome affects much of my everyday life. Sure, my daughter has Down syndrome, but it isn't who she is. So why make a big deal about it?

But then I thought of the many hours, days, weeks, and months I spent searching and reading blog upon blog upon blog about the daily lives of kids with Down syndrome. Back when my head was still spinning from the knowledge that the baby growing inside me had a life changing diagnosis. I was so thirsty for information, but not the kind doctors could offer. I wasn't interested in life expectancy and statistics. I wanted to know what it really meant to have a child with Down syndrome. I wanted to see what the kids looked like, I wanted to know they were loved, I wanted to know they were happy. I wanted to read about kids learning to ride bikes and reading. I wanted to see little girls who loved to dance. I wanted to read about their first day of school. I wanted to know that there were countless other parents out there that had been through what I was then going through, and found their way through to the other side.

So, today, I decided to write. I write for those who are just beginning their journey…Or who are wondering if they should. I write for those whose hearts are still overflowing with emotion when they hear the words "Down syndrome". I write for those who need assurance that loving someone with Down syndrome is a wonderful, life changing experience.

 Count us in on the 31 for 21 challenge. It feels good to be back!