Wednesday, March 21, 2012

Down syndrome makes you:

Today we celebrate 3:21 - World Down syndrome Day. 

In honor of the day, I want to share a few things our family has learned about Down syndrome since having Ella.

 It makes you silly:

It makes you annoyed at your mom for taking pictures:

It makes you messy:

It makes you learn how to use a cell phone at an early age:

It makes you a NY Giants Fan:

It makes you a golfer:

It makes you grumpy in Christmas pictures:

It makes you a lion:

It makes you raise tons of money (10K!) for others with Down syndrome:

It makes you the boss of two big brothers:

It makes you cute:

We have also learned it makes you adorable, feisty, stubborn, lovable, huggable, moody and sometimes it makes your parents very tired of running around after you.

It makes you just like every other two year old!

Tuesday, January 3, 2012

So many things, so little time - Some funny, some sad....

One thing with having a blog... It's a bitch to keep up with...

Did that get your attention? ;) Happy New Year! I'm Baaack....

Seriously though, between 3 kids, a demanding job, a house, a husband, a need to go to sleep at 8:30 on the dot every night and watch Teen Mom 2, I don't have as much time as I would like for the blog. I also don't have that much to post. I mean, I could tell you that..

1. Reed thought every little girl in his class had Down syndrome and totally yelled that out loud at the holiday party in his class while I was two feet away trying to 1. Not shrivel up and die from shock of him being so bold and SO wrong 2. Smile at his innocence and 3. explain to the other moms that it is totally OK for him to think that - What - You got something wrong with Down syndrome other Mom's? Yeah, that's what I thought. :)

2. Ella said her first word. Yep - our little girl is a talker. Well, I mean a one word talker when the mood so strikes her and the moon and stars are aligned and she is wearing pink with polka dots, but look, she said "Up" while pointing "Up" on the couch and said it for an entire week. The magic word hasn't been repeated since. She's fickle like that.

3. Ella speed walks. Like almost a good speed walk, but missing the coordinated arm movements that make you look cool at the gym. Little girl can hustle. She hears the fridge open or her brothers near by and - whoosh - speedy baby is off to get to the scene. It's adorable. A little frightening too as I am waiting for her to face plant when speedy legs go faster than speedy torso, but for now, its cute and a huge milestone.

4. Mike and I had 11 1/2 days off with the kids and didn't go crazy. Or kill each other. That would have made an awesome blog post though. We also spent 4 days with his mom, sister, her fiancé and 2 grandparents in a cabin the size of my computer monitor. We are all still here to reminisce about our cozy time together and the freezing cold temperatures at night. Ahh, I love the Holiday's.

5. Ryan smashed his thumb with a rock, it almost required a trip to the ER and now it looks like he paints it black to torment us with some early look into his Goth period, he has bruises on his knees from learning to ride his new Ripstick and he both angers and endears me to his 8 year old boy self and his MATURE 8 year little man self. I love both his "selfs" but am starting to see my grown up little boy is amazing and I can't wait to see him get older. I mean I can wait, but can't wait all at the same time. There are nights I sit with him just talking and wow - the things he thinks about. He has both the best and worst of Mike and I in him, super serious, super focused, super bratty. When he gets older and figures out how to harness his brattiness, watch out world....

6. Supernanny left on maternity leave and just today came back. This might be why I am blogging, to document the fact that I 1. Made it 10 weeks without her and 2. Probably wouldn't have made it 11 weeks. I mean, we were running on fumes. The sock drawer, the legos, the calming nature of her british accent, it was all missed... Plus, it makes it easier to explain to people why Reed says Garage like the British do when she is around. For 10 weeks it just looked like he was adopted - recently - from Wales.

7. We got the kids a trip to Disneyland for Christmas. I video'd it on my phone, hoping the surprise would be so awesome I could send it to Disneyland for use in their next commercial. Well - Ella is 1, had no interest in sitting still or Disneyland and Reed, unbenowknst to us had no idea what Disneyland is. Kills the surprise when the kid acts all disappointed that all you got him was a stuffed mouse. Yep, that happened. Ryan was excited but for a good commercial you need at least 2 out of the 3 actors to be good...

8. Shoot - did I post that Ella's Entourage raised 10K for her Down syndrome walk in October? I know, it was 2 months ago, but still, my little girl and her army of friends, family and supporters raised 10K! We were the number one fundraiser! She rocked the parade and her custom wagon float and wore her princess for a day hat with pride! She was amazing and so was everyone who donated to her team. We still have a lot of thank you cards to send, but slowly they are going out. P.S. - On the thank you card note - I still have her first birthday thank you cards waiting to be mailed. If you want both at once, just let me know, otherwise as you enter the house for her next birthday, I will make sure you get a thank you from the last. Yeah, better late than never. Don't worry, I made copies of the receipt so every one will know they were purchased two weeks after the party.. :)

9. Hmmm - What else has happened in the past few months. My dad and his wife had birthdays and my sister in law did too. (all important people in my world and I was happy to celebrate with them!) my marriage celebrated another anniversary (Hooray for 12 years of Michael putting up with me!) My mother in law didn't move to New York after watching my kids for 10 weeks straight while Supernanny was on Maternity leave (trust me, sometimes after a weekend I want to move and she hung in there) True, there were a few more oreo's given and a few less stern words shared than us parents would do, but she is a Grandma and helped us out immensely when we needed it most. My own Mother made every weekend better with doing the little things that help - sitting with me while I fold laundry, cooking with me, making fun of perfect people with me, going around town to buy me on sale shoes while I lounge on the boat, you know, being a great mom without a lot of recognition....

And drum roll please....... I could have blogged to tell you that....

10. Shoot - no, I'm not pregnant - although this would have been a great way to tell my family. In reality, if I was pregnant again I wouldn't tell them, I would just let them all find out when they visited and there was one more kid around. Although, given the chaos of my house already, it could take a while to realize...

Seriously, I could have blogged to tell you this - Life is a blessing.... It sometimes takes unexpected turns, but honestly, each day is a blessing and in the last few months, life has had very little to do with Down syndrome.

Mike's Dad died in July. I didn't share it because it wasn't my pain to share. When it happened, it was his and his Mom and sister's pain. They already were, but became even more so then, a tight nit clan facing a world of hurt and uncertainty that only someone who has lost a parent can understand - or face. I didn't have the words, I still don't, to make them feel better. I don't know what it feels like, I don't call my Dad for a few days and I get sad, I couldn't imagine if I could never call him again. I feel selfish for wishing my Dad was closer when their Dad is so far. I feel bad for not knowing the hurt they feel. With that and all the emotions over the last six months, I have realized that I am amazed that someone can lose a parent and still be an amazing parent themselves. Giving up that hurt inside of them to make it OK for their own offspring. Mike took his Dad's passing to mean more then a goodbye and makes sure his kids spend every day knowing he is there. He finds their passions, their "wows" and embraces them. Yesterday it was birds, today it is houses in Florida and Mike is taking it in, learning with them and being there, just like his Dad. I knew his Dad for 15 years, I knew him to be a passionate, caring person who would give anything for his family. When he got sick, it took a lot from him, but not his passion. He would be happy to know Brigid and Mike have that same passion - whether it is for teaching or running a business or being an amazing Dad or Aunt or Son or Daughter, their Dad did something right. I am amazed at what someone passing on could teach me - teach us - about being here now, embrace it, live it, love it... It's been 6 months - today - we miss and love you Big Mike. You went out with a bang and will be remembered with a bang! You would be so proud of Alice and Mike and Brigid. I promise, they haven't embarrassed you yet! ;)

Being blessed isn't always described with being happy or having money or new shoes or a trip to Vegas. It can be found in so many emotions - It's amazing - a blessing - that we have made it 6 months without Mike's Dad. It can be found in first words that only happen for a week, but now we know she is capable. It can be found in five year olds thinking every girl has Down syndrome - not because they think it is something to be made fun of, but because they think their sister is amazing and why wouldn't every little girl be as amazing as her. It can be found over folding laundry together and laughing at silly stories or Skyping with your family miles away. It can be found realizing your husband is just as good of a father as his Dad was or knowing that his mom will be OK on her own. It is knowing that no matter what, no matter who, you aren't in this alone.

Down syndrome, losing a parent, it doesn't really matter, sometimes, life sucks. Sometimes, you want to wake up and wish it was 2012 or wish you were five again or it was 2040. Well, guess what... It is 2012. Time for Ella to be Miss Sassy Pants and my family to show that they are carrying on a great legacy, a legacy that liked German Beer, parties and tuxedos! Get ready world, the Falco - Morganroth Clan is ready for you (and, as Ryan likes to say, we are also ready for the end of the World on 12/21/2012 - Yeah, he is the dramatic of the family).

With love and blessings and a reminder to hug your babies, laugh a lot - out loud - , take crappy pictures and forget to mail your thank you cards. It's OK. I am not perfect either....