As usual, as soon as I start stressing, and making a big deal out of things, Kennedy decides to show off. Speech has been our biggest challenge for awhile now. Partially because she has been so motor focused for so long. Her new Developmental Therapist was just amazed with her motor skills, and tried to reassure me that when kids make so much progress in motor skills everything else tends to come to a halt because they are so busy. Just when I thought she would be saying mama, dada and bye, forever, she's started saying, "hi." I feel like we're moving in the right direction. As usual, she only says it when she wants to. I tried getting her to repeat it for me tonight at dinner. But every time I said, "Hi!" she said, "Bye!" She thought it was hysterical. And then she stopped saying bye. Every time I said "hi" after that she would put her hand to her ear as if she was talking on the phone, FINALLY she said hi. Seriously. This kid is hysterical, even when she's getting 4 incisors. Or maybe it was the Motrin. Hopefully we'll start making more progress in the speech department soon!
Hey Grandma, you don't mind if I have some all of your fries, do you?
Yeah, this whole winter thing? It sucks. I want my bikini back.
There, I said it. I'm jealous of all the moms who don't have to worry about therapy and developmental delays. Oh and blood draws, ophthalmology visits, insurance approvals, cardiology visits, Synagis shots, and hearing screenings, just to name a few. I'll admit it, sometimes I see Facebook status updates and think, "I wish that was my biggest problem." I don't do it to minimize my friends' problems. And I definitely know that there are people that have it much harder than I do. But sometimes I just want to be lazy, and sit back and watch her play, or tear up the house, with out questioning if I'm doing enough for her, or if I'm doing the right things to help her succeed. Every parent wants to do their best to help their kids succeed. But since Kennedy has to work extra hard at everything, I feel a lot of extra pressure about it. Now that we have two kids, I definitely don't work with her as much as I used to. And I always worry that it's impacting her progress negatively.
We had a long break in therapy. The move, the holidays, getting things going in a new state. We started Developmental Therapy last week, and both Kennedy and I loved the therapist. Kennedy really showed off to her. This week we started speech. It didn't go so well. I think partially because of the three teeth she's got coming in, she was tired, and truth be told, she just wasn't interested in her toys. This week has also included countless phone calls to the insurance companies, and a Synagis shot. Sometimes it would be nice to sit back and relax, with out worrying about if the doctor's office sent the paperwork to have next month's Synagis shot, or what the speech therapist is going to think about her progress, when she doesn't cooperate during a session.
With that said, I do still know how amazing Kennedy is doing, and I can't believe how far we've come in two years. I don't usually focus on Down syndrome or the delays, and I typically follow the belief that she will do things when she's ready, as she's proven to us already. But every now and then, I have a day where I get frustrated by how hard we have to work for her to be able to do the same thing other kids do so easily. It definitely makes it more rewarding once she does it!
I promise, more photos soon. We have been busy with birthday party plans, appointments, broken sinks, broken couches, and freezing cold weather. I think we need to push it all to the side tomorrow and make a trip to the pool!
I seem to be getting worse and worse with this blogging thing. Is it the fact that I have an almost 2 year old (gasp!) and a 5 month old? The fact that there's always laundry to be done, dishes to wash, toys to pick up? Birthday party plans/projects to be done/made? I'm pretty sure that this all contributes to my lack of blogging. But more than anything, I'm finding that I have less and less to talk about. I figure, people aren't all that interested in what we do every single day. Or in the 500 pictures I take a week.
Both kids are growing up at lightning speed. Kennedy is 23 months old today. In one month, we'll have a 2 year old!!! She's learning more and more by the day. Her motor skills are increasing like crazy. She now insists on carrying things up the stairs, walks with pillows the size of her, runs, climbs, etc. She finds something new to get into every day. Today we caught her carrying around a container of guacamole and an onion. And I don't mean from her play kitchen. Her receptive language is growing by leaps and bounds. She is signing and imitating more and more, and we're starting to see more progress in her expressive language. We could not be more proud of her. She is at such a fun age. Except when she grabs her brother's face. Or has a tantrum because I won't share my turtle mocha with her. But even when she has a tantrum, she's adorable.
I guess what I'm getting at is that our life is normal. There are days I don't think about Down syndrome. We're getting back into our therapy routine. We love our developmental therapist and she was very pleased with how well Kennedy is doing. Even on the days I do think about Down syndrome, it's just that. The same way I think about grocery shopping or paying bills. Just a part of life. It's not what defines Kennedy, but it is just a part of who she is.
Here are some photos and videos from the past week or so.
Hey dad, can you teach me more about football?
Yeah, I know, I'm a big boy now.
My first train ride!
I love to feed my babies.
Why is my baby's milk orange?
Hey sissy, come play?
Sitting at my table. Outside. In short sleeves. And 3 days later it snowed.
Hey mom, I'm going to take this sample of diapers upstairs.
Chillin' at the mall. In my skinny jeans and boots.
I love you brother.
Ssshhhh...It's 1am. I'm playing with sissy's toys while she sleeps.
Driving a convertible at the museum. Dad, can I have one?
It's hard to believe that my baby girl is almost two. We still have about 5 weeks, but birthday planning is going full speed ahead. Invitations have been ordered, birthday outfit has been ordered, and the cake has been ordered. Mommy has a list of about one million craft projects she wants to do. I have such mixed emotions going into this year's birthday. I'll definitely miss having all of our Florida friend's and family with us. But I'm so excited to share this special time with so much of our "northern family" and our new friends.
We've also been busy exploring the city, and finding things to do. Most importantly, we found an indoor pool! Kennedy is especially thrilled about this, and has been trying to convince Caleb that he should love swimming as much as she does.
I think I've mentioned how motor focused Kennedy has been lately. In fact, she's been pretty much unstoppable. With little interest in "learning" or doing anything that doesn't involve running around, making messes, and getting into things. Apparently that got boring, or I have finally babyproofed all the fun parts of the house. She's back to wanting to play, and we're having so much fun! She loves to cook at her kitchen, feed and take care of her babies, and talk on the phone. You know, her iPhone. The one she carries around half the day, listening to music. She's really mastered stacking blocks, stacking her rings, her shape sorter, stacking with her peg farm, etc. She was also willing to show off some of her skills for her new speech therapist. She loves to bring me her sunglasses, so I can help her put them on, you know, so she can be a fabulous diva! (Imagine that.)
Here's some new photos of the princess! (Apparently in random order, because I'm too tired and lazy to organize them.)
I'm still confused about this pool situation, but at least I can swim!
Just walkin' around the park with my Grandma.
I decided to have a party from midnight to 4:45am the other night. I invited my brother.
(Photo taken at 2:45am.)
Yes, I'm a diva and I know it!
Making music in the park. Cash, check, credit accepted as tips.
Here baby, here's your juice.
Mama said don't eat the sand. She said nothing about throwing.
This pig is my favorite. I've had it forever, and I never get tired of it.
And just to show what a crazy girl I have on my hands. Here is Kennedy, with her gym set. I'm so thankful we have a house with a really good play area. This child needs it.
I remember the days that I thought Kennedy would never walk. The days a year ago when she would crawl backwards, and get stuck under entertainment centers, tables, etc. Then came crawling forward. And cruising, and independent standing. Then one or two random steps. Then 5 or 6 steps. All of the sudden 20 steps!!! And now I can't stop her! Literally, in October when we were house hunting she made a record of 22 steps. By the time we moved 3 weeks later, she was a full time independent walker. Now, 6 weeks later, she's running. Girlfriend does not stop. She doesn't want to do puzzles, she doesn't want to watch Signing Times, she doesn't want to stack blocks. She wants to run around the house, playing with whatever happens to be in her path, for a few minutes at a time, but mostly tearing things apart and getting into everything. Throwing things into the Diaper Genie, pulling things out of the trash can, throwing books off shelves, emptying laundry baskets (clean or dirty), and emptying every cabinet. We're still missing TWO pairs of my husband's glasses. Yes, I said two.
We recently found a place called Monkey Joe's. When we took Kennedy for the first time last weekend, my husband had an alarmed look on his face, when we walked in to find huge bounce houses. He was definitely concerned. I wasn't sure what to expect, I felt like bounce houses were a little old for her, even on the toddler level, I wasn't sure what she would think. Well, she loved it. She crawled under, through and around all the different obstacles. Jumped and flipped off inflatables, went down slides, crawled, climbed, ran and bounced. We took her back today, for a play date. She was all over. Literally throwing herself against the sides, and sliding down. Bouncing, sliding, running. I am not sure which of us got more exercise but I can tell you, I'm exhausted. I was looking forward to photos of Kennedy and her friend, Ben, playing. Unfortunately, Kennedy didn't spend enough time in one place to even think about getting a picture today. Hopefully if we keep hanging out with Ben, his talking will rub off on her. Of course, there's also a chance that her wildness may rub off on him.
This was a video of her the other day, before she got too completely wild.
And this would be her today. I know. The worst photo ever. But the best one I could get, as she threw herself across the bounce house.
And just to show what a goofball she can be.
Yes mom, I'm eating crackers for dinner. But give me more.
What? I'm just working on my splits.
Look for me in the gymnastics portion of the Olympics in a few years.
Other random videos that show miss wild thing in action:
Checking out Daddy's office, after Monkey Joe's last weekend.
(She walked circles through daddy's building several times.)
And this morning's run in with Mr. Penguin....
On that note, I'm going to bed. Because tomorrow is a long day of keeping up with her, while juggling a 20 pound baby on my hip.
We always knew we wanted to have kids close in age. When Kennedy was born we thought we would need to delay our plans to have kids close together. We quickly learned that life wouldn't be all that different. Being pregnant and taking care of a very dependent child wasn't always easy. And having children 17 months apart has it's challenges. Some days I feel like I need to clone myself. But I wouldn't have it any other way. The smiles, the snuggles, hugs and kisses make it all worth it.
Caleb is definitely growing up fast. He's nearly 5 months old and weighing in with only a pound or two difference from his big sister! He's also hitting his milestones much earlier and with much less effort than Kennedy did. Sometimes it makes me sad, because I realize even more just how much harder she has to work. But we're getting to a point where they interact and are starting to play together. Kennedy adores Caleb, and takes every opportunity to give him kisses. She loves to help him bounce in his jumper and she will go crazy dancing for him. She's not the only one. Caleb idolizes Kennedy. He will stare at her and screech, jump and bounce while she eats. He always smiles at her and tries to get her attention. I can tell they are already best friends. I remember the first time I took them both to the pediatrician by myself. It was like a train wreck. Kennedy was sick, and Caleb was hungry and sick of being in his seat. It was a screaming mess. I thought I was going to lose my mind right there in the office if I didn't grow a few extra arms. The doctor told me that it would be hard, and Kennedy wouldn't get every bit of my attention anymore, but that I was giving her the best thing I could, in giving her a brother so close in age. She also told me that they will teach each other a lot. And I can definitely see that will be true before I know it.
Some days I don't get to shower until 11pm. Some days my husband comes home to a house that looks like a hurricane came through. Some days I don't put a bite of food in my mouth until dinner. But every day I look at my babies and I am so thankful for the wonderful bond that they already have. I don't have any siblings, so I can't say what that bond is like. Seeing them interact with each other just melts my heart and puts a smile on my face. While I'm sad that Caleb is growing up so quick, I'm also excited to see their relationship continue to grow. I'm looking forward to seeing them play together and share new experiences.
What a year 2012 was! I would say it was less stressful than 2011, but I'm not sure that's appropriate. It was just less stressful in the sense that we weren't facing an unexpected Down syndrome diagnosis and open heart surgery. In fact, we received an excellent cardiology report and don't have to return to them for a year. Kennedy literally grew from a baby into a toddler, before our eyes. As I look back on some of the THOUSANDS of photos of her from the past year, it's evident just how much of a little girl she has become. Though she will always be my baby. We became a family of FOUR! Caleb has been such a wonderful addition to our family, and Kennedy has proven what a wonderful big sister she is. We vacationed, a lot. We spent a great deal of time with family. Sadly 2012 was also the year we said goodbye to my Grandfather and my husband's Grandmother, two very special people in our lives. We said goodbye to our friends, family and therapists in Florida, and packed our things watched others pack our things, to make a 750 mile move to North Carolina. This has been a big adjustment, especially for the kids. We're trying to make friends here, and 6 weeks after moving we STILL do not have therapy established. But, it's worth the cold days and fights for therapy to have my husband home every night.
Kennedy and Caleb attended their first New Year's party this year, and they both stayed up until after midnight! She was the social butterfly she always is, and made her way from person to person, dancing and showing her sweet smile. 2012 was a great year, full of many wonderful memories, a lot of firsts, new milestones, big and small, and change. I'm excited to see what 2013 will bring for our family!
I wanted to go back and highlight some of my favorite posts, videos, photos, and memories. But nap time was barely existent today, and now I'm way too tired. If I don't get this post up tonight, it won't happen. So here's a quick look back at the past year.
Kennedy turned ONE! We celebrated by having a big party with family and friends!
We spent July 4th celebrating Kennedy's one year heart-aversary.
We prepared to become a family of four!
Caleb was born, making us a family of four, and making Kennedy a big sister!
And what an amazing big sister she is!
Kennedy met many milestones - signing, her first words, building with blocks, crawling, standing and biggest of all - WALKING!!!
We celebrated every holiday, in a big way!
We smiled, we laughed and we made a lot of memories.
We traveled - a lot. Sea World, Disney World, Orlando, Marco Island, Sanibel Island, Chesapeake, Raleigh, and Hilton Head...just to name a few. Kennedy even took her first flight. And both kids made many road trips.
We spent time with family. We said goodbye to friends, and have made some new friends.
We made the big move from Florida to North Carolina.
Kennedy and Caleb have had to adjust to what winter really is.
We celebrated Thanksgiving in our new home!
We had a wonderful family Christmas!
And just tonight, we said farewell to 2012 and welcomed 2013 with friends and family.
I feel truly blessed for my wonderful husband, our amazing children and both of our families. Happy New Year to you and your family!