Thursday, May 29, 2008

So you think you can dance

Brett Banford, a 25-year-old Salt Lake City man who has Down syndrome, earned a standing ovation yesterday on Fox television’s “So You Think You Can Dance,” and used his appearance to advocate on behalf of all people with disabilities.
“I’m just here to prove to people that people with disabilities can actually have a normal life and live it. And that’s what I’m here to represent,” Banford said to audience cheers, after a dance routine full of martial arts and smiles. The judges did not advance Banford to the next level of competition, but described his efforts as “inspirational.”

Wednesday, May 28, 2008

Best Cousins!

Memorial Day

Mia Kate (4 months) and Lily Brynn (7 months)

Such a big girl!

Mia has grown up so much this past month. She really is not a little baby anymore. She seems SO big to me now so I thought it was time to pull out the supersaucer and see if she was strong enough to start using it. The pictures are proof...she is definitely big enough for this new toy! Now the challenge is keeping Morgan and Griffin out of the chair so Mia can use it!

She STILL loves to suck on her fingers and thumb!

Here comes the tooth fairy!

For some reason I wasn't thinking about Morgan losing her baby teeth. I figured since she got her baby teeth in at a later rate than my other kids that she wouldn't be losing any before kindergarten. But at her dentist appointment last week, the dentist let me know that her two bottom teeth were a little wiggly. I wasn't sure how Morgan would respond to the sensation of a wiggly, loose tooth and having it fall out. So I tried to prepare her by showing excitement about her wiggly tooth and having her show it off to everyone. I also let her know what a big girl she was to have a wiggly tooth! She pushed it out this afternoon with her tongue (without me knowing) and showed me the tooth in her hand and nervously said, "Euw...!!" and threw it across the room. We found the tooth and got this picture. I wonder what the tooth fairy will leave for her tonight since she doesn't have any desire for money. Any ideas?? Have any of you bloggers had your child with Ds lose any teeth yet?

Sunday, May 25, 2008

At Home with Down syndrome

This is part of an essay on Down syndrome that appears in the Spring 2008 issue of The New Atlantis.

In storage at the Museum of Fine Arts in Boston is the secret to what one professor calls “the first Down Syndrome Association in the history of the world.” In 1982, Dr. Brian Stratford, a specialist in developmental disabilities at the University of Nottingham, suggested in the journal Maternal and Child Health that the Italian Renaissance painter Andrea Mantegna used a little boy with Down syndrome as the model for his Christ child. Stratford made a “clear characteristic diagnosis” of the baby based on his distinctive facial features and the shape of his hands and toes. The Gonzaga family of Mantua, Mantegna’s sponsor, had a boy with an unidentified “sickness,” she said, and one of the artist’s own fourteen children shared this condition—a not insignificant factor in Ludovico Gonzaga’s choice of Andrea Mantegna as his court painter. Gonzaga and Mantegna appreciated the humanity of these children whom some might have preferred to hide away or let die, and that shared sensitivity gave them a “sense of purpose” with respect to disability which Stratford regrets has been all but forgotten by our society: “Perhaps Mantegna saw in this child something beyond the deficiencies which now so occupy our attention and perhaps then, the qualities of love, forgiveness, gentleness, and innocence were more readily recognized. Maybe Mantegna saw these qualities as more representative of Christ than others we now regard so highly.”

“Wouldn’t it be wonderful,” another proud big brother asks in Gifts, “if every family had a kid with Down syndrome?”
That question, of course, does not express the wish that more children would struggle with disabilities, but rather that more families might find within themselves the means to understand, and to transmit to future generations, the profound truth that every life is filled with meaning, and every child is a source of joy.

Friday, May 23, 2008

Piano Recital

Ryan and Jack with their teacher

Jack and Ryan had their piano recital last night. Jack has taken for 4 years and Ryan for 2 years from this teacher. She has decided to not teach piano lessons anymore. She had each student come up at the end of the recital to receive a framed quote by Heber J. Grant about persistence. The first student she called up was one of Jack's best friends. She went on to comment about this student and how his qualities remind her of Heber J. Grant. She then called up my two boys and I am now wondering if Jack and Ryan could be the reason she decided to not teach piano anymore. :)

Here are her comments:

"I had Jack and Ryan come up together because they come to piano lessons together. They are quite the pair, I tell you. Jack is a really quick learner. I have been impressed by his ability to catch on to things really quickly. As you can see from the pieces he played tonight, he likes to play very quickly as well. Ryan has a great sense of timing. Not only a sense of timing with humor like his dad, but when it comes to playing the piano he can really keep a great beat. I have really noticed that is one of his strong points. I can’t let them go without saying a few other things. If you look into these two little boys eyes, there is a little bit of mischief in those eyes. So there is more to being a piano teacher than I realized when I got these two boys. When I think of times with them it is not limited to sitting on the piano bench, it is things happening in my living room. I can tell you stories about . . . I can look at my carpet, a candle I have (they know what I am talking about), magazines, my lamp, pillows, my Halloween decorations and they all have a story because of these two. So you two will not be forgotten. You’re great!"

I would have taken the Heber J. Grant comparison. But she definitely described my boys!!

The terrible (but extremely polite) twos!

So Griffin won't be two until July but he doesn't feel the need to waste any time -- he is full blown into the 'terrible' stage of whatever age he is! He really is so busy every minute of the day. I am sure my others were this busy but for some reason I just don't remember it being quite this bad or lasting so long. I thought it was cute at first but after 6 months I am ready for this stage to be over! He loves to empty the fridge, dishwasher, utility closet, under the sinks, drawers, break my computer CD/DVD drives, pull the pillows off the couches, etc. He's also in the 'no stage' where every request is answered with a "no" but (here's a nice little twist) he says "No, thank you!" in his sweet, high pitched voice. At least the boy's got manners!

Thursday, May 22, 2008

I already LOVED this song but thought Archuleta sounded so good singing this with One Republic last night!

Monday, May 19, 2008

The big tease!

We went to the Jazz/Lakers playoff game on Friday night with my family. My dad wouldn't let us in the car until we had some sort of Jazz paraphernalia on. So I had to resort to wearing Jack's Williams jersey. We had a fun night with lots of screaming, mild hearing loss, and lots of disappointment after making a big come back and losing by 3 points.
Waiting for the game to start -- full of excitement and optimism

Modeling Jack's jersey (so it may be a tad small)

Blake and Dad

Sunday, May 18, 2008

Mia is 4 months old!

Happy 4 month birthday Mia!
We are still absolutely loving having a new little baby in our family. Even if you are getting so big! You are still very happy and now full of big belly laughs. Griffin is able to get you to laugh and laugh just by looking at you and giggling! You started to reach for your toys this past week and have been rolling over from your tummy to your back. You are very excited to be able to sit up one day and try to do it all the time. I am trying to cherish this time with you and love to hold you in my arms as you sleep or nurse! We love you, Mia!

4 month checkup
Weight 14 lb. 6 oz. (63rd %)
Height 25 ins. (77th %)
Head 41 cm (48th %)
And the good news . . . the doctor couldn't hear any heart murmur. He said to take her to her appt. with the cardiologist at the end of the month since I've already waited two months to get her in, but that he felt a little embarrassed to send the referral since he can't hear any murmur now. I will take embarrassment any day over a heart murmur! :)

St. George Madness

I am finally getting a chance to post some updates after a busy week of Sharing Time planning and DVD making of the triathlon for Gavin and his brothers.

We had a great time in St. George and had fun being with so many cousins and Nan and Papa (all together in the same house)!

The kids had fun playing in the water in the backyard on a slip and slide and baby pool

Hadley , Avery and Oakley hanging out with Papa

Here we all are just enjoying some quality tv time together

Gavin (all tired and worn out after the triathlon) and Mia

We went to a water area in downtown St. George and the kids had a lot of fun getting all wet!Morgan LOVED this little area where she could walk all over in the water.

Oakley, Jack and Ryan


COVE FORT -- On our way home, we stopped at Cove Fort (a first for all of us) and watched a movie about the history of Cove Fort and then took a tour. The missionaries challenged us to read "A Family: A Proclamation to the World". So that was our lesson for FHE this past week. Which was perfect since my lesson in Sharing Time this week was on: "Scripture study, family prayer, and family home evening can strengthen my family".

This is inside Cove Fort

Griffin playing with Sister Anderson

Tuesday, May 13, 2008

Swim (not this time) -- Bike -- Run

Gavin completed the St.George Triathlon this last weekend. It was so windy and cold and we (his fans) were not prepared for the weather. It was too dangerous in the water to do the swim with all the wind and waves and so that portion was canceled. He did it with his two brothers (Chad and Trevor). He hadn't done a triathlon in two years and looked great out there! Way To Go Gav!!

Monday, May 12, 2008

St. George Triathlon

Ryan, Gavin, Jack

Gavin (aka Michael Scott), Trevor (aka Jeff Goldblum), Chad (aka Nick Nolte) and Travis

Gavin with his parents and Ryan

Way to go, Gavin!!

Thursday, May 8, 2008

Highlights of Puerto Vallarta

This is the view from our balcony at The Marriott Casamagna Resort

We arrived just in time to watch the last of the playoff game

We spent most of our two days sitting around the pool. The weather was perfect with a nice breeze. Mia spent most of the time sleeping with her daddy (not that her daddy slept a lot) or in the stroller. We had a great big pool which made it nice for Gavin to swim some laps to help prepare for his triathlon this weekend. The pina coladas were super yummy at this resort!!

We went to the centro and had dinner at Pipi's with some other Allstate agents (Cathy and Dave)

Enjoying the dinner fun and a yummy fried ice cream sundae

A photo in front of the Jalisco seahorse--just for old time's sake

Hanging out on our balcony

Gavin was able to even out his tan on this trip (He is holding a bottle of aloe in an ice cocktail)

Enjoying our second day out by the pool with Mia

Gavin spent this day by the pool under the umbrella in the shade

We went to the centro again for dinner at Senor Frogs

Dinner with our Allstate friends (we spent most of our time with these guys)

Candace, Lori, Heather

Gavin, Mike and Bobby

Mia found her 'voice' (aka 'scream') the day before we flew home. Everyone remembered Griffin's high-pitched scream from Vancouver last year. It really just made us laugh when she started doing the same scream on the flight home. It isn't a crying scream -- just a tired, really loud, high pitched bird call. (Thanks Melinda for the cute little dress on Mia)

Tuesday, May 6, 2008

Fun in the sun!

We will be heading back to SLC tomorrow afternoon. But we (at least, I) have been having a great time relaxing around the pool. If you know Gavin well-- you know he does not enjoy relaxing and hanging out around a pool or beach for more than 15 minutes. But he humored me yesterday and spent most of the day out by the pool, relaxing. And he is paying for it now. (I will post pictures after I get home.) I am not sure I have EVER seen anyone get so burned on their thighs (sure, the shoulders or back-- but ¿legs?) (And how cool is it that this computer has upside down question marks¿?) He can barely walk and is religiously applying aloe vera hoping for some sort of miracle! Mia is doing great and once again getting a ton of attention from everyone. I am loving the break! We have been hanging out with a fun couple from Tooele and enjoyed talking until 2 am last night and then SLEEPING IN until 10 this morning. That is what I call a real vacation! I have missed my 5 little blessings back in SLC more this time around and I think it is probably because we were just here with them in the fall and have lots of fun memories here with them. The weather has been so much better this time around though. No humidity and a nice little breeze.
¡Adios mis amigos!

Saturday, May 3, 2008

Kindred Spirits

So I should be packing and getting ready to fly out to Mexico in the morning but I wanted to do a quick post.

The first hours after Morgan's birth were difficult. I remember bringing Morgan home from the NICU and thinking I would get a phone call from some Down syndrome support group letting me know that they had heard about Morgan and welcoming us into their community. That phone call never came. I started to feel like maybe I was the only one out there going through this adjustment. I grasped at anything I could to find information and support. Initially I turned to the Internet and found information but not support. It was before blogging was around. I heard about a Halloween Buddy Walk up north in a mall and dragged my family to it. I remember Gavin asking why we needed to go to a buddy walk with our 4 week old baby. We would have years to go to these things. We weren't going for Morgan. It was for me. I just needed to see other families and children with Ds and know that I was not alone. I am forever grateful that we made the effort to go. That is where I met my first 'kindred spirit' in the world of Down syndrome. I needed that friendship and support. We started a playgroup with other moms and pretty soon had a big group of friends getting together on a monthly basis. It was so helpful those first few years to have that support system and ability to share each other's knowledge. We don't get together very much anymore with how busy life has gotten and maybe don't need the playgroups as much now that our lives are feeling 'normal'. But I still feel a deep connection with three of the moms I got to know those first few years of Morgan's life. I am so grateful for their friendship! We have a common bond that will always keep us close. Love you Carrie, Amy and Beth!

Morgan and I went to see one of her friends (and my friend, her mom) at the hospital today. She just had open heart surgery a few days ago. I remember the feelings of going through that-- Morgan had open heart surgery when she was 4 months old. Lauren is doing great and should be going home tomorrow! YAY! It had been almost 2 years since we had seen each other (She moved a year ago). It was so fun for me to see how much Morgan's friend had progressed and changed. She was excited to see Morgan and didn't want her to leave. She even invited Morgan to come and sit in her hospital bed with her.

They weren't too happy in this picture since "The Incredibles" wasn't available to watch

Lauren shared her Barbie laptop with Morgan

One of our first playgroups together

Lauren, Morgan and Amanda --their first 4th of July

The playgroup getting bigger with 10 friends

Lauren's 2nd birthday party--O.T. with pudding!

Morgan's not sure about all this chocolate mess

3 Best Friends (Lauren, Amanda and Morgan)