Friday, February 24, 2012

Such a Ham!

This kid seriously cracks me up.  Even on the most stressful days, she keeps me laughing.  I have an even better video, but it's still sitting on the video camera.  For now, you'll just have to deal with this one.

Wednesday, February 22, 2012

Making Progress

This is a tough subject to write on, because I have to admit, I'm a little bitter about it lately.  Kennedy is doing amazing.  She's rocking it in PT and EI and I'm really seeing a lot of progress since we've started private therapy services.  That said, she's still a long way from walking.  I'm okay with this.  She's happy and healthy and that's what's important to me.  She went through open heart surgery, and came out on top.  In the grand scheme of things, does it really matter when she walks?  She WILL eventually walk.  But I've been feeling a lot of pressure lately.  From people in the grocery store, from friends, from family.  "Is she walking yet?"  "When will she walk?"  "She's so close to walking, she's just going to get up and go."  It's like she turned one and the world expects her to just get up and go.  For a lot of kids, they do just get up and walk.  But for children with Down syndrome, it isn't that easy.  They have things working against them.  Like low tone, short limbs, stretched out ligaments, etc.  She can't just "get up and go."  She can't reach a lot of things to pull up on, even if she wanted to.  She's a champion stander, but she doesn't understand shifting her weight to walk yet.  And she is not yet standing unassisted, which needs to happen before she walks.  These are all things we work on in therapy.  We work really hard.  Kennedy works really hard, harder than "typical" kids have to work to achieve the same thing.  This is why it's so much more special when she achieves these milestones. 

But as a mom, it's hard.  Deep down, I am perfectly content knowing that she will eventually walk.  And that she's doing amazing, for her.  But I hate when other people compare her to other children.  It's not a fair comparison and it's not fair to put unrealistic expectations on her.  I know people don't mean to be hurtful, but as a parent, when you work so hard, and when you see your child working so hard, it does hurt.  A lot.  It's hard enough to see children younger than her doing things that she's not ready for.  I don't expect people to be experts in Down syndrome.  And the strangers, most of them have no clue that Kennedy even has Down syndrome.  But it's very hard to be challenged and have your every word critiqued when it comes to your child.  This is true of any child, not just children with Down syndrome.  Though I think it tends to happen more when you're dealing with a child with special needs.  Of course I hold Kennedy to high expectations.  I want her to be able to achieve everything that other children do.  I want her to walk, ride a bike, read and write.  And she will do all those things, but she's going to do them when she's ready.  All the therapy in the world cannot make her do them sooner than she's ready, it can only aid her in learning what she needs to in order to reach the next milestone.  She's happy and she's healthy.  That is what is important.  In fact, I'm pretty sure I've never met a happier baby.  She has touched the lives of everyone she meets, and I know that she's going to go far in life.  When she's 20 and doing whatever it is that makes her happy, it won't matter whether she walked when she was one, two or three. 

Hey mom! Pick me up!

I'm stuffed, I can't eat another bite of pasta. Take me home to bed.

It's good to know that if I sleep past ten I can get brunch.

So what's the plan today mom?

Sunday, February 19, 2012

Happy 1st Birthday!!!

Wow.  Here we are.  One year later.  It's so hard to believe that one year ago I was sitting in the NICU shocked and scared.  If only I knew.  I had no idea how wonderful our life would be.  All I could think about was open heart surgery and the future.  One year later, we've survived open heart surgery, and Kennedy is doing amazing.  We have had ups and downs, but definitely more ups.  We have made wonderful memories as a family, and I have wonderful memories of Kennedy's first year.  Sometimes I still worry about the future, but more than anything I look forward to seeing how Kennedy grows and what she will become.  Of course, let's not rush that.  I had enough tears over her 1st birthday, I can't even think about when she's 5, 10 or even 20 years old. 

Kennedy had my heart from the moment she was born.  Her laugh and smiles make me melt.  I cannot get enough of them, and although she was overwhelmed and got tired during her party, yesterday was no exception.  We had a wonderful crowd of about 35 friends and family who came to celebrate Kennedy's 1st Birthday!  It was so much fun watching her interact with all of the kids and play with her new toys.  She was pretty tired when it came time to dig into her cake, but she poked her fingers around it, and we plan to give it to her again today.  She got a second wind and was able to help daddy open her presents.

Here are some - okay - A LOT of pictures from the day!  She passed out at 7pm, after eating her last dish of meatballs, and I expected her to sleep through the night, waking up refreshed and ready to play.  Mommy was wrong.  Kennedy woke up promptly at 9pm, refreshed and ready to play!

Mommy, my tutu feels funny.  Do I have to keep it on?

Kennedy's photo banner!  By far, my favorite project and part of the decor.

Kennedy had a lot of fun playing with her friends!

Yes...she had a monkey on her butt. Did you expect anything less for this diva?

Kennedy's smash cake!

Daddy I'm so tired, I just don't know if I can take any more partying.

Well this is interesting, but mom...I'm REALLY sleepy.

Hugs from special friends.

Daddy can you open that faster?

Oh I've been wanting one of those daddy!

Oh my goodness this elephant is so much fun mommy!!

Come on Riley, let's go for a ride.

Mom, enough pictures. I want to play with my toys.

Hey guys stop kissing me in front of all my friends!

Meatballs please?

I woke up from my nap, I'm ready to play.

These beads are really neat mom.

I really wish I wasn't so short, I just can't get these beads all the way to the top.

Thanks for the toy Grandpa!  This is really fun!

This is the perfect toy to stand up with, I can't knock it over.

Thanks for my elephant Grandma!  I love it!

Daddy you are so silly!  Do it again!

I need to call peeps and thank them for the gifts.

This ball makes funny noises.  But it also tastes good.

A little note to Kennedy:
Happy 1st Birthday Kennedy!!  Mommy and daddy love you so very much.  You have changed our lives in ways we never imagined and we are so lucky to have you as our daughter.  You brighten our lives and bring sunshine to every day.  I cannot tell you how proud we are of all that you do.  You have come so far in the past year and overcome more in just a few short months than some people do in a lifetime.  We are so excited for the next year of memories and adventures!  We cannot wait to see you with your little brother this summer!

And just for the sake of memories, I wanted to share a photo from each month over the past year.  I'm still amazed at how much she changed from month to month and I cannot wait to see how she changes over the next year.


1 month

2 months

3 months

4 months

5 months

 6 months

7 months

 8 months
9 months

10 months

11 months

12 months

Wednesday, February 15, 2012

My Little Valentine

Yes, I know I'm a little late.  Birthday plans are in full swing here and I'm realizing just how much there is to be done before Saturday.  Can someone add an extra day between Thursday and Friday? 

Last year on Valentine's Day, Marlon and I were making bets on when Miss Kennedy would be arriving.  We were eating at the Thai restaurant, every Friday, expecting it to be our "last meal as two."  We did that about 4 times.  This year, I spent Valentine's Day with my special little Valentine.  We even made cookies for daddy.  And Kennedy got to taste her first chocolate chip cookie.

And since I've been up since 5am, I don't have anything else to say.  I got some cute pictures of little miss in her Valentine's pajamas.

 Happy Valentine's Day!

Yay!  I love surprises mom!  But is that bear as big as me?

I'll go for the cards first!


Mmm...chocolate chip cookies. Heavenly.

Monday, February 13, 2012

Let the Birthday Celebrations Begin

I let Kennedy open a birthday gift that arrived today.  I figured she's going to have plenty this weekend, so opening the one that came in the mail today would be fun.  Okay okay, and mommy was looking forward to seeing her new blanket!  She really got into it, and the pictures say it all.

Is it Christmas again?

I'm going to open way or another.

Even if I have to use my teeth...oh wait I don't have any.

Look mom, I got a piece of paper.

Oh yeah, I was opening the present.

 I got another piece of paper! This tastes good.

I can play peekaboo with this blanket!

Peekaboo is so funny mom!

The blanket tastes good too!

Let's play peekaboo again!

Peekaboo mommy!