Sunday, October 21, 2012

31 for 21 Day 21 BUDDY WALK BUDDIES - The Wards!!!!

yesterday was our 4th buddy walk!!!!   wyatt's first buddy walk was when he was 3 1/2 months old!!!  that first year we had a huge team walking for wyatt....over 50 people!  it was a tremendous show of support for our family during such a stressful time!   we also raised the most money that year!    

we have one family who has walked with us every year - our good friends, the wards!   jeff, christy, caleb (one of forrest's best friends), claire, connor and kate!   well....they almost walked with us every year; there was the year that they were registered to walk, and their precious kate decided to make her early appearance and they were in the hospital that year!   but they were still a part of our team!  

i don't think that the wards have ANY IDEA how much their support has meant to us through the years!    they have been good friends of ours for several years now, and we LOVE spending time with them!   but for them to take a saturday and commit it to supporting our family is just a very special thing!  

we don't have to walk "alone!"    we walk, laugh, joke around, and have a blast!

they are such a blessing to our entire family, and we thank God for them!!!! 

Saturday, October 20, 2012

31 for 21 Day 20 BUDDY WALK!!!!


today was our 4th year to participate in the panama city beach buddy walk!!!   wyatt was so little that first year!!!!   3 1/2 months old!!!!  what a difference 3 years makes!!!!   that first year i was so nervous about seeing all those kids and adults with Down syndrome!!!   now i look forward to it!!!!
it was a beautiful day!   the t-shirts were designed by one of our own local adults who has Down syndrome, byron smith!!!   we had friends and family join us to celebrate our precious wyatt.... what a blessing!!!   we are so thankful for those who take the time to join us on this special day!  

and an extra special blessing.... wyatt won a hope haven (Ds clinic) evaluation!!!!  woo hoo!!!  hopefully hope haven will be able to fit us in sooner than next september, when we are scheduled to visit!!!   praise God!!!  

just thought i'd share a few pics tonight..... long day!!!! 

Monday, October 15, 2012

31 for 21 Day 15 Some Kids with Down Syndrome Hate Haircuts!!!

before wyatt's first haircut!
during wyatt's first haircut!
those stickers were magical!

 wyatt's first haircut was probably his easiest haircut!   who wouldn't want their haircut at the "happiest place on earth"????    that's right, just after wyatt turned 1, he has his first hair cut at walt disney world's magic kingdom; at the barbershop on main street!   it was such a fun experience, and he did GREAT!!!   
after wyatt's first haircut!
all done!

too bad that we can't go to disney for each and every haircut!!!   a friend of mine just posted that she is having to mentally prepare herself for her daughter (who has Ds) to get her haircut!   i SO understand this process!!!   wyatt now HATES to get his hair cut!!!  but with hair that grows as fast as his does, and is super thick, we MUST get haircuts regularly!   
apparently we are not alone in this battle, many of my friends whose kiddos have Ds experience the same trauma that we do with each cut!   i must say that his last cut was the easiest so far, so i am hopeful that we will outgrow this!   during our last visit to hope haven, the Ds clinic in jacksonville, the educational consultant, laura, told me that her adult son, who has Ds, was the exact same way growing up!    she also gave me some pointers!

for many kiddos, the aversion to a haircut stems from sensory issues.  not wanting someone to touch their hair or not wanting anyone in their personal space can have a lot to do with it.  for wyatt, we believe it has a lot to do with the noise level associated with haircuts, especially when electric trimmers are involved (and many barbers cut kids hair completely with trimmers!)   laura told me that a solution they found was a lady barber who was willing to open her shop early just for them, and would cut his hair with scissors mainly!  

ms peggy sue
praise God that we have a barber friend who we went to church with who was willing to do just that!   ms peggy sue meets us early before she opens her shop; we try not to talk and laugh much, no loud music blaring, with disney channel going for wyatt to watch!   and she uses scissors as much as she can!!   what a blessing!   although it is not "easy breasy," it is much better than before we started our early morning visits!!!   we thank God for our friend who works with us to cut our little man's hair, and who prays over his appointment as well!   

and we hope to see her this weekend.....

Thursday, October 11, 2012

31 for 21 Day 11 Down Syndrome Society of West Florida: We're Having Our 1st Event!


Down Syndrome Society of West Florida

Fall Picnic and Membership Drive

October 27, 2012
10:00 a.m. –12:00 p.m.
Bayview Park
2001 E. Lloyd Street Pensacola, FL
Down Syndrome Society of West FL
Serving Escambia, Santa Rosa, Okaloosa and Walton Counties of Northwest FL (850) 292-4796 


Join us as we celebrate

Down Syndrome Awareness Month

with a Family Picnic!

Hot dogs, chips and drinks will be provided, and we ask that each family bring a side dish to share! 
Membership applications for the DSSWF will be available at the picnic!
Please RSVP to (850) 292-4796 to reserve your spot at the picnic!   

Wednesday, October 10, 2012

31 for 21 Day 10 Just Don't Use It!!! ANY Variation of the "R" Word, That is!!!

i've blogged about it many times in the past, i know!   in case you missed this post, "you're gonna argue with me about this?  seriously??"  , it's pretty significant concerning the attitude i have encountered in the past about this word.  
unfortunately i keep hearing the word "retarded".   it's really not that hard to stop saying it, you know!   the graphic above  gives you lots of ways to expand your vocabulary so you can break that nasty habit of calling things and actions "retarded!"

NOW folks are not simply using the "r" word, they are shortening it and just using the "-tard" portion in conjunction with other words.....  REALLY?????    JUST STOP USING IT, for goodness sake!!!   unless you really mean, "that's so WYATT!"..... and i KNOW that is not what you mean....but that's what i hear..... and i'm afraid that is what he will hear for the rest of his life, simply because he was born with Down syndrome....   so STOP!!!!    for wyatt.....


Tuesday, October 9, 2012

31 for 21 Day 9 Family!

we were blessed to be able to have family portraits taken this past sunday afternoon; my friend amber taylor took these wonderful pics!   we met online a few years ago when she was pregnant with her sweet baby girl violet, who also has Down syndrome!    we met IRL last year as well, and now only live about 1 1/2 hours apart!   we had a great time taking these pics, and i love them and wanted to share them with you!!!   i'll share more soon!   blessed!

Monday, October 8, 2012

31 for 21 Day 8 Don't Just Stare, People! Speak to Us, We Won't Bite!

i know that i have blogged about this before, but just recently (even today) i have noticed it more and more..... i hate it when people are looking at wyatt, *trying* not to stare, and then avert their eyes when i "catch" them.  mind you, i am not frowning and angry.... i am smiling, happy, and ready to engage them in conversation when i see them looking at wyatt!    it is just beyond my comprehension how someone cannot smile when they see my precious boy!   he's more alike than different, people!!!!   

of course it doesn't happen all the time!  maybe just a third of the time do people behave this way.  the othere two-thirds of the time, people will at least smile, at most engage in a conversation with me!  when i notice someone really interested in wyatt, i will ask them something like "oh, do you love someone with Down syndrome too?", which is a great conversation starter!    i often find that they have a family member or family friend who has Ds, and often a story to share! 

even today an older man engaged us in a lengthy conversation; he taught children with special needs for many years in the public school system.  he asked all types of questions about wyatt, and was genuinely interested in him!  it was a lovely conversation!   he wished us well when we parted.....

you see, i LOVE to talk to people....all people!  i love to admire their precious babies and children too!    i guess that's why i have such a hard time understanding someone not even smiling at our precious boy.  i know that before we were blessed with wyatt i probably stared from time to time at folks with disabilities as well; i wish that i had known better then!  but i have learned that we are ALL more alike than different!  created in the image of God, just as HE intended us to be!   blessings....

Sunday, October 7, 2012

31 for 21 Day 7 Boys with Down Syndrome Love their Brothers!

just like most little boys, wyatt loves his brothers!  (more alike than different!)  since ethan went away to college, wyatt has developed an even more special bond with both ethan and forrest!   he gets excited when we pick forrest up from school, or if forrest is the first person he sees after naptime!   and he's even more surprised and excited when he sees ethan, because he doesn't see him every day!  i love their special relationships; how wyatt brings out a different side in both of his brothers.... a tenderness, protectiveness, gentleness..... love!



Saturday, October 6, 2012

31 for 21 Day 6 Boys With Down Syndrome Like Corn Mazes Too!

our family spent the day with friends at a nearby farm that has a 7 acre corn maze!  they have lots of fun activities for the kiddos in addition to the maze too!   wyatt had a blast!

i'm so glad that we live in a time when we don't have to "hide them away" because they have Down syndrome, aren't you???      i'm glad that we can share the joy that wyatt has brought to our family as we "live' our lives, like enjoying fun family outings together such as this one!


Friday, October 5, 2012

31 for 21 Day 5 The Night Wyatt Was Born....

precious wyatt.....
finally got him back, a little cleaned up!!!

i really wanted wyatt to be born on the 4th of july, but he would not cooperate!   he waited until the 6th of july to make his grand (and quick) entrance!!!    that was a monday, and it was a busy day!    i cooked fajitas for supper and we had a delicious meal!  i thought i might be getting closer to having him, but was not sure!  after a nice hot bath through contractions, we decided to call our obstetrician, who is also our friend, to see if it might be time to go to the hospital.... from the tone of my voice she said it was definitely time!  

proud daddy!!!
we got to the hospital about 9:30 that night, and he was born about 10:15!   i told tim once we got to the hospital that i just could not do this.....i was TOO OLD!  he just laughed.  but those were a pretty painful 45 minutes (i have never used pain meds)!!!!   as i was pushing, i told our OB i just couldn't do it, and she said "ok!"  LOL!!! RIGHT!!!! 

meet the brothers and g-mama....
that's our OB Dr Debbie!

so i thought i would share some of wyatt's birth pictures with you...... we did not have a prenatal diagnosis with wyatt because we chose not to have any prenatal testing.    i am so happy that we had these precious moments with wyatt, not having a diagnosis.   as i look at these pictures, i am fully convinced that no one involved with his birth had any idea that he had Down syndrome!    it wasn't until he was a couple of days old that it was suggested that he might have Ds..... 


Thursday, October 4, 2012

31 for 21 Day 4 Wyatt Loves His Friends!

we really miss wyatt's best friend clayton!  he and his momma came to visit us last month in our new home!  it was so good to see them!  

wyatt is also making lots of new friends at school and church!   he LOVES to go to school; it was so cute this week when we arrived at school at the same time as one of his classmates...wyatt was SO HAPPY to see him!  he left me in the dust to greet his friend!     he also LOVES to go to sunday school, preschool choir and awanas at our new church.  we are so very blessed that he has THE SAME COUPLE as his teachers in each of those classes!!!   WOW!!!  that is just unheard of!   he is always so glad to see them.  

my new, but quickly good, friend amy has a "typical" son who is 1 month older than wyatt, his name is a.j.   she also has an almost 2 year old who has Down syndrome.   wyatt and a.j. are in the same classes at church together and it is so cute to see them greet each other.   a.j. is ALL BOY and can give amy and his teachers a run for their money.... at first amy was afraid that a.j. would hurt wyatt in some way.  i don't worry about that!   we have discovered that a.j. has a special love for wyatt..... he is almost always excited to see wyatt, and gets angry at me if wyatt is not with me when i visit!   amy often brings him to class just so he can see wyatt!   just last week when amy was leaving our home,  wyatt actually said "a.j.!"   we were THRILLED!  we have not heard it again, but we know he can say it!!!  

this past sunday when we got to church, one of the little boys immediately said hi to wyatt and gave him a hug.  his mom told us that throughout the week her son had been talking about his friend "WHITE," (we are southern, you know!) and for a few days she had no idea who he was talking about..... WYATT!!!    precious!!!  thrills this mama's heart, i tell you!!!!    so happy that other kiddos love wyatt as much as he loves them!  


Wednesday, October 3, 2012

31 for 21 Day 3 Wyatt Enjoying the Beach!

 just like all little boys, wyatt loves to be with his dad and brothers, and he had fun at the beach labor day weekend!   

Tuesday, October 2, 2012

31 for 21 Day 2 Surprise! Wyatt Starts School!

 wyatt turned 3 shortly after we moved this summer.  when a child who is in the early intervention program turns 3, he transitions out of that program into the public school system.  it was NEVER our intention to put him in the public school system when he turned 3!   no way, no how!    we wanted him in an inclusive environment with all typical children who were talking! when will i ever learn to stop saying "no way"???   'cause you just never know.....

not so sure about all this attention!
wyatt had been receiving 7 therapies a week for the past several months, all provided through early intervention at NO COST TO US!!!   a rough estimate of what those therapies would have cost WEEKLY would be $650-700......WHOA!!!   we knew that we were blessed through that program, but certainly didn't realize what we would be missing once he transitioned out of it!  

1st day of school!

once we moved and did not immediately access private therapy for him, we began to see a difference in his development..... he was not progressing as he had been.  of course everything was new.... new town, new house, new church, new friends....   although we had him enrolled in a private Christian preschool, we met with the county's pre-k exceptional services director to see what services we could access for him in the area of therapies.  much to our surprise, we found them to be quite accommodating of our needs and desires for wyatt's education.   they were open to us enrolling him 3 mornings a week, as opposed to the full day/every day program that is available, and they were willing to place him in a class with children who were talking....  

ms amy, wyatt's teacher,
carrying him in on the first day of school!
principal smith checking on wyatt
for nervous mama!
at that point our heads were spinning because that was NOT our plan!!!  but we knew that we could not provide him with all of the private therapies that would be available to him in the public school system.   we had a last-minute IEP (individualized educational plan) meeting, and met the team that would work with him; his teacher (miss amy), and two of the therapists (speech and occupational).  we were thrilled with his team, and with how smoothly the process went!  we were told he would receive 1 1/2 hours of speech, and 1/2 hour each of occupational and physical therapies each week, as well as adaptive physical education.   we decided that we would place him in the public school system, knowing that if this was not a good "fit," we could always remove him!  

and now, 6 weeks later, we are VERY HAPPY with the decision we made, and i'll be sharing in the coming days all that he has been up to!!!