Saturday, April 21, 2012

Rockstar

We rocked it today. Since being one is a big deal, we decided it only appropriate to celebrate for weeks on end. Who says a birthday only comes once a year? Plus Daddy is home. And that's a big deal, too. Big deals call for big celebrations. With cake.


The rockstar theme idea began with this picture.


I mean, come on. The sucker puts Mr. Simmons to shame. Throw on a gnarly black wig and some face paint and Dude could go on tour. So, we rocked it. With pride. 




No rockstar party is complete without a band. So, we rocked that too. (Not quite as proudly). 





 
Add in some of the Motley Crew, sprinkle in some Aunts and Uncles and presto - 
recipe for a kick butt birthday. 








And just to reiterate the cake part...





We rocked Dude's first birthday just like we will continue to rock his awesome differences. Don't forget to donate to the National Down Syndrome Society by clicking on that infamous Simmons-esque picture on the left side of this blog. Thank you, thank you, THANK YOU to those who have so generously shared their hard earned cash in support of Ben and his buddies. 

Keep rockin' that somethin' extra, Big Man. 
We love you and we will celebrate with you for the next lifetime of birthdays.  


Nighty Night.

Sunday, April 15, 2012

Life-esque

I may or may not have started today by jumping out of bed at 6:45 (amazing, I know), breaking into "O Happy Day" and skipping all the way to Ben's room to proclaim to his one year old mind that today was Daddy day.

I gathered up my excitement and took it to the airport. My heart pitter-pattering the whole way, of course. Ben's excitement was evident by his power nap on the way. Too much excitement to handle, so pass out. I get it. 

It's always amazing how easy coming home becomes when you do it a time or two (or six). Picking up where we left off, moving toward the normalcy we crave throughout the three months we spend apart, and catching up on life-esque things.

Like Micah in the kitchen. 


I mean, I can cook. But Micah? Dude can cook.

Our day has consisted of a whole lot of nothing. We've taken naps, watched Whitney and talked about what we'll be doing for the next month. It's been grand.




Happy Today.

Tuesday, April 10, 2012

Easter

As promised, here is our Easter Sunday in a nutshell: Food, Family, Friends and a Fantastic Church Service. 

Our day started with a visit from the Easter bunny. 





I love that church on Easter calls for the extra effort to
 break out the big guns. 
Like hats. 


The rest of our day basically consisted of going from one meal to the next. We ate our weight in ham and deviled eggs, skipped naps and enjoyed the company of new friends, old friends and some of the Motley Crew.




It's always amazing and somewhat baffling to me how everyone and their brother-in-law goes to church on Easter. Churches break out the big guns to join with the attendees and everyone seems to leave with a different perspective - good or bad. Sometimes lives change dramatically and God works in mighty ways. Sometimes we go because we have to. Either way, church is the epitome of Easter. Everybody knows it. 
As Christians, though, Easter is the day. 
The day God rocked the world. 
The day that makes our faith... faith. 
The reason we believe what we believe. 
The big guns. 

Hope you and yours enjoyed every minute. Tell me about your big guns. Hope yours included hats. 


Oh and P.S. This guy will be home on Sunday. That's right. Family of three, baby. Woot!


Saturday, April 7, 2012

NDSS

"Benjamin has Down syndrome."
I actually said that out loud for the first time in a long time recently. Believe it or not, I had written it loads of times, but hadn't said it since the emotional phone calls in the beginning
In our Tuesday morning Mom and Tots Bible Study, we had an assignment about seeing God work. Sort of a time line of events that changed our lives for the better. Naturally, Ben's birth came to mind. I had written down other things like, "I grew up in church" and the endless learning experience of understanding what I believe and why I believe it.
But Ben?
Ben was life-changing.
Motherhood has been engrained in my DNA from the moment I realized I was capable of giving birth. Anytime my cousins and I got together, there was no argument about what we would play. House was the imagination of choice. We wrapped up our water babies in clothes that were too big, chose our appropriate bedroom home, dropped the "older ones" off at school and waddled around in our mother's high heels. We even had imaginary husbands who came home from work while we were cooking dinner. And let's be honest, I've watched enough TLC's A Baby Story, I could probably deliver my own child if necessary.
Down syndrome is a beautiful thing. It's not something to be afraid of, not something to be sorry about. It's just an extra, little chromosome that makes for cute, almond eyes, gaps between toes, ears unnoticeably placed lower, and the hand line that keeps on giving.
Ben was both everything and nothing that I expected. I've learned so much about the silliness of stereotypes. I'd like to make one thing clear: My son has Down syndrome. Down syndrome does not have my son. I've said from the beginning that my desire is to change minds. We get caught up in stereotypes only because we know nothing about what (or who)we're laughing at. I'm just as guilty as you are but, ultimately, I want to change that.
The National Down Syndrome Society is working to help change that, too. Advocating on our behalf, giving a huge voice to the quiet underneath their umbrella and teaching others the same thing I'm learning.
Please prayerfully consider making a donation in Ben's name to contribute to the work of the NDSS. We've already raised over 850 dollars! I'm leaving our little rockstar's donation page open until his birthday bash on April 21st. There's a fantastic Gene Simmons-esque picture on the left side of this blog or you can click HERE to make a donation.

Thank you for the donations thus far and thank you for loving my little boy.

Have an awesome Easter! I'll be updating on our festivities, so keep a look out. Until then...

SMILE! It makes your butt tingle.   

Tuesday, April 3, 2012

Two-Fold

The first time I saw the Passion of the Christ was overwhelming. I watched as grown men wiped crocodile tears and women clung to handkerchiefs. Boxes of tissues were passed around like the offering plate and groups from churches all over town stood outside waiting to talk to those who didn't understand why people were so broken. I remember feeling like I was glued to my chair as the credits rolled.
Micah and I didn't say a word as we shuffled to the nearest table outside the movie theater. We sat reflecting on what we just witnessed. Finally someone said something to the effect of, "Wow." I remember feeling a lot of different emotions all at once. Angry that it was my sin that attached my perfect Savior to that cross; sorrowful thinking about how Mary must've felt watching her son suffer such a terrible death; grateful that He had done that for me. 
When people describe how it feels walking through Israel, how the Bible comes alive and the amazing sense of "He was here." Hearing those descriptions makes me think of how I felt during that movie. Everything I believe, everything I live for, everything I've read and studied, everything I know to be true suddenly becomes a vivid picture in my mind.  
The best part of the story, though?
"He is not here; he has risen, just as he said. Come and see the place where he lay." Matthew 28:6
Could you imagine how crazy it would've been to see that, let alone try to explain to everyone else?
Our Savior rose from the dead, people. The story is awesome - two folded. Yes, he died for our sins; gave us a vivid picture of what sin does to our lives and where we would be if He hadn't given His life. But He rose from the dead. Why? Because He not only cared enough to die, He cared enough to not leave us alone. 
This Easter I'm thankful for that two-folded story. Thankful for the death and resurrection of Jesus Christ. Thankful for the sacrifice. Thankful for my little boy. Mary was one strong woman. A woman of faith. The kind of mother I wish I was and hope to be. She ached with grief, but trusted that God knew exactly what He was doing.
I don't understand why God takes children from their mothers. I've witnessed a mother's grief twice in my life. One of which was televised so beautifully and the other came like a wave around our school.  One made me cling to my pregnant belly and the other made me get my sleeping little boy out of his crib. Both shed light on Mary's experience. Both made me ache. However painful, maybe God allows such things to take place to teach us what it was like for God to sacrifice His son on our behalf. That's my theory. That's one of the questions I'll ask God when I get to Heaven. That's what I believe and that's what Easter is really about. 
Enjoy the egg hunts, the feast, the new clothes and the bunny festivities. [You bet your sweet bippy I'll take pictures of my handsome man all decked out. It's going to be fantastic.]

Just don't ever forget what it's really about.