Friday, May 27, 2011


Today, Kaetlyn is one year old.  ONE WHOLE YEAR.  Wow.

So, you might've guessed that Kaetlyn let me (her Mom) have at it on the blog tonight. We had a big day and I felt that, since I've been crafting this post in my head for weeks now, I should finally write it down.  I can't believe a year has passed since our sweet girl FINALLY decided (36 hours into labor) to come into this world.  What a ride the year has been.  Turns out Holland is not such a bad place...

When we found out that Kaety would have Down Syndrome when I was 4 months pregnant, my heart felt the deepest sorrow it had ever known.  I had waited so long for this baby; we knew her, we loved her, but now were faced with such fear, such ache, such sorrow.  The kind of sorrow where you can't even cry hard enough to get it out. The kind of sorrow where your throat constricts, your knees go weak, and there seems there will never be enough to fill that hole in your heart.  Enough.  I worried SO MUCH about Enough.  How could I possibly be what this little girl needed?  How could that sorrow ever turn to joy?  But we, my husband and I, knew how much we already loved her.  We knew she was something special, and we knew that maybe Enough was to give her a chance.

All the reading and studying we did following her diagnosis was, for us, preparation.  We studied books and tried to learn all we could about DS.  And it was scary.  And that sorrow threatened to consume.  I started reading blogs of all the other Mommies out there with babies with a little something extra.  We found our local ARC and DS Community and realized how HOPEFUL these people were.  I recently realized that at that time, I don't even remember that part of my pregnancy because we focused so much on the DS, not on the fact we were going to have a baby...until one day, two months after we found out...  We had read ENOUGH.  You can never prepare yourself for the unknown; you can never know what you will walk into...and sometimes it turns out to be the biggest blessing you will ever know. 

I have found that the Moms I've "met" in the blogging community have helped me more than anything I read in a book...getting to know them and their kids has meant the world to us.  It's not by accident that this community is what led us to focus not on the DS, but back on our pregnancy.  Through the blogging community, we stumbled upon a poem that meant more to us than anything we had read and through that, we started focusing on having a baby.  A BABY!  That poem was "Three Angels"...  I want to share it here because it helped me so much, because it truly describes how we feel about Kaetlyn...



Once upon a time, three angels were busily working in the miracle factory.  They were responsible for wrapping up all the little miracles and sending them on their way.  Normally they wrapped each one in bright, sturdy paper with big, shiny ribbons.  They stamped it with a delivery date and away it would go to the parents who eagerly awaited its arrival.  Things usually ran pretty smoothly.  One day, however, down the conveyor belt came a little miracle that made the angels pause.

"Oh my," said the first angel.  "This one's uhm...well...different."

"Yes, she is unique."  said the second angel.

"Well I think she is quite special," said the first angel, "but I don't think she will quite fit our standard wrapping procedures."

And the second angel added, "And we know she's special, but will everyone else?"

"Not a problem," said the third angel.  "Obviously a special miracle deserves extra special wrapping; and of course, we'll send her off with our most heartfelt blessings.  Then everyone will see how special she is."

"What a wonderful idea!" replied the others.

So they searched the shelves high and low for their finest paper, and their most delicate ribbons.  When they were done, they stood back and admired their work.  "Beautiful!" they all agreed.

"Now for our blessings," said the third angel, "for it is time for her to go."

"I will bless her with innocence and happiness," said the first angel.

"And I will bless her with strength to face the many challenges that lie ahead," said the second angel.

"And I will bless her with an inner beauty that will shine on all who look upon her," said the third angel.

Before sending her off, the third angel, who was very wise, gently tucked a note inside.  And it said:

Dear Parents,
Today you have received a very special gift.  It may not be what you were expecting, and you may be disappointed, angry and hurt.  But please know that she comes with many blessings, and, while there may be pain, she will bring you much joy.  She will take you on a very difficult journey, but you will meet many wonderful people.  She will teach you patience and understanding and make you reach deep inside yourselves to find a source of strength and faith you never knew you had.  She will enrich your lives, and will touch the hearts of all who meet her.  She may be fragile, but she has great inner strength.  So pleases handle her with care, give her lots of attention, shower her with hugs and kisses, love her with all your heart and she will blossom before your eyes.  Her spirit will shine like the brightest star for all to see, and you will know that you are truly blessed.

Our Special Gift - 12 hours old...
So, fast forward a year.  Here we are.  Our Kaety-girl is ONE YEAR OLD. 

I am truly blessed.  Enough?  Is the joy of her Enough? Our Kaety is SO SO MUCH MORE than I could ever have imagined.  Every day I look into those crystal blue eyes with their brushfield spots, I see laughter, dancing, mischief, love.  Oh yes, LOVE.  MORE than I could ever have hoped.  She is the most amazing thing to ever happen in my life.  That original sorrow and fear?  I wish I could tell myself of a year and a half ago not to worry so much!  Are they still there sometimes when I worry about her future, or wonder how she will be with her soon-to-arrive little sister?   Yes, they're fact I still worry about her future life every day.  What will happen as she gets older and the gap between her peers widens? (I am sure I will not be very nice the first time someone is not nice to her!) Will she be independent?  Will she go to college?  What will her adult life be like? But the reality is that every parent feels fears and worries about the future with any child.  The reality for my husband and I is to take things day by day, to deal with the now, to experience all that having her in our lives can give us. 

On this, her first birthday, I can't believe how LUCKY we were that those three angels picked us, that Kaety's little soul looked down and said, "I want that family," that she chose us, and that we were given the opportunity to know her...

To you out there, thanks for sharing in each week of her first year, for helping us through, for being with us...  We'll continue to update and write about Kaety's goings on, of course (this girl is unstoppable!).  It just seems like SUCH a huge milestone, though I know there will be many, many more.  But...ONE YEAR.  Wow.


Thursday, May 26, 2011

WEEK 52 - May 19 - May 25, 2011 - 51 Weeks Old


This week, I spent lots of time with my Mommy and Daddy, helping to prepare for a very special guest who came into town for my GRAMMA WARD!  I "helped" Mommy get all her planting done - lots of baskets of pretty flowers for the back yard, and was extremely helpful in the "cleaning" department...did you know that crawling all over the floor can pick up an inordinate amount of dog hair when you have 3 dogs, and it makes it so the vacuum cleaner doesn't have to do as much work!  Isn't that "helpful"!?

Asking Mom if I can put one of the flowers in the pot...
Daddy says I've become mischievous, mischievous, mischievous.  You can't keep me in one place, that's for sure.  Despite the fact that I *may* actually be getting a tooth after all this time, which has had me a bit whiney and very much wanting to snuggle this week, I have been crawling ALL over the place and pulling myself up on EVERYTHING.  I've even started to "surf" the furniture in my own special way...turn around and with one hand try to walk forward, sit down, scooch once, stand back up...I'm over two paces!  It's really quite ingenious, don't you agree? 

Because I'm soon going to be a big girl, and because I like to MOVE, Daddy got out my zebra toy that he bought me when Mommy was still pregnant and I got to get on it for the very first time!  I love it!

All that activity can wear a girl out (plus the aforementioned teeth trying to come in has me a little exhausted too...).  Mommy and Daddy took me grocery shopping and I decided sometimes snuggling with the grocery cart is the best kind of satisfaction...

Just a few more days until my birthday...Mommy said this morning that she was already in labor at this time last year...labor...?  What's that? :) 

The next time we talk, I WILL BE ONE YEAR OLD!  YAY ME!!!!

Sunday, May 22, 2011

WEEK 51 - May 12 - May 18, 2011 - 50 Weeks Old


This week I had several "firsts."  It was the first time I stood up by myself in my crib!  One morning, Mommy heard me in my bed and I was talking and carrying on and when she came in to get me, I showed her my newest trick.  And look how happy I was about it!!!  It was so much fun.  I've decided standing up against pretty much ANYTHING is the way to go.  I just wish I could figure out how to move from side to side when doing it!

Me standing again...Mommy and Daddy took down my mobile after this!
I met with Ms. Colleen at the Children's Therapy Center again this week and we worked on my stepping and trying to get me to move side to side.  I'm not a big fan of this.  I much prefer the walking forward exercises.  But I did show Ms. Colleen how fast I can crawl in my half bear/half crab-crawl and she was very impressed with my speed!

The day after I played with Ms. Colleen, I did something REALLY amazing.  I was crawling all over and exploring the house, and my Mommy (who is getting huge) was trying hard to follow me around.  I found the stairs in our house and they're REALLY high!  I decided that the dog toy that was laying on the stairs looked like a lot of fun, so I decided to go for it and try to get it!  And guess what?!  I did!  Mommy had Daddy get the video camera and you can see my awesome stair climbing feat here! :)

I've really gotten into reading books with my Daddy and my Mommy lately.  I like to touch the books and talk to the book when they're reading to me.  I get at least one story before night's a lot of fun! :)
Reading with my Daddy

Tuesday, May 17, 2011

WEEK 50 - May 5 - May 11, 2011 - 49 weeks old

THREE WEEKS 'TIL MY BIRTHDAY!!! (Not that I'm counting or anything! :))

Because my Mommy is a big fan of pictures of me, she had me participate in retakes at school for picture day.  I was a little ham for pictures this time, as you can see.  I smiled and showed the cameraman my best stuff, as well as a little attitude...
My personality truly shows in this does my prolific ability to remove my right shoe...

This was me at home prior to going to school...not the similarity in footwear...I've got talent, yes I do! :)
I had my very first Mother's Day with my Mommy this past week.  My soon-to-be sister and I bought Mommy a really pretty necklace with each of our birthstones in it (Daddy helped pick it out!).  Mommy loved it.  Daddy bought Mommy a shed so we can put all the garden stuff into it and make room in the garage so Mommy can open both doors of her car to put me and my sister in!  It was a really nice day :)

In other news, I'm really not into sitting so much anymore.  I like to stand on ANYTHING and EVERYTHING I can.  I even stood all by myself, WITHOUT HOLDING ON! for 3 full seconds at school the other day.  Mommy and Daddy haven't seen this feat yet, but Ms. Audrey assures them it's coming!

I met with Ms. Gay Lloyd at the Center for Children's Therapy this past week.  She's the nice speech therapist lady with whom we met when I was doing the intensive Neuro-Developmental Therapy.  I get to see her once a month now.  We're working on my tongue control.  I really am a fan of using my tongue to achieve every possible sensory input I can, but sometimes people just don't understand how awesome that can be...and, well, truth be told, it can lead to drool.  So, Ms. Gay Lloyd will help my Mommy and Ms. Colleen teach me to use my tongue differently.  I have a tendancy to stick it out of my mouth when I swallow and, of course, I pretty much stick it out when I smile, and I like to use it as my bottom lip.  So, they've got these "Nuk Toothbrush" items that are FANTASTIC to chew on.  When I'm chewing, my tongue stays in my mouth, so we work on that every day (I love it!) :)  Also, there are some face exercises to help me understand my lips should go together, not my lip and tongue.  And finally, some feeding therapy to help me move my tongue around in my mouth a little better.  We'll meet with Ms. Gay Lloyd again in a month to see how things are progressing.  Mommy is hopeful much of these techniques will help me, as she told me the other day she can already see some improvement.  Way to go me! :)

Monday, May 9, 2011

WEEK 49 - April 28 - May 4, 2011 - 48 weeks old

It's been another week...and I'm ONE MONTH away from turning one year old!  My Mommy and Daddy can hardly believe it and I'm just waiting with anticipation for my big party!

The big news this week was my visit to the opthamology doctor.  We went back so I could have my tear ducts evaluated.  When I was there six months ago, they were fairly certain I was going to have to have lacrimal tear duct surgery - basically to open up my tear ducts by placing a tube in to create a tear duct.  This time, the news was more optimistic.  While my right eye still refuses to clear completely, there is *some* drainage, so the opthamologist said we should wait and see how things develop over the next year and only come back if it doesn't look like it's improving significantly.  You can't imagine how happy this made my Mommy and Daddy.  I knew I wasn't having as much "leaky eye" and could've told you he would've said that! :)

I've been a busy bee, crawling through my playhouse and walking behind my green dinosaur, Nestor, with some help from my parents.  They haven't gotten any video yet...we'll try to do so for next week.  My biggest accomplishment this past week was "surfing" between the coffee table and my standy table.  I did it all by myself and Mommy was *shocked*.  She was so surprised, when she said something, she surprised me and I fell down on my bottom!  I better keep practicing so Mommy doesn't surprise me like that again!

I also *finally* figured out how to crawl up into my very own chair and hang out.  I've been trying for a couple of weeks to get into the chair and Mommy showed me how again and then I tried while she was folding laundry in my room the other day.  Lookie here who made it up on her own...AND found my bottle of juice/water to boot...that's right...ME!!!

Sittin' in my chair, relaxin' in the sun with a cold one...

This is the life!
I spent some time with Ms. Colleen this week and have been working on feet positioning and feeling my weight in my feet.  I really really want to stand up on my own and WALK, but I just haven't found the balance yet...hoping Ms. Colleen's techniques will get me there!

And finally, just a couple of shots of me eating dinner...because Mommy thought I was so darned cute... :)  Have a great week!

Ummm...are you bringing me food yet?

Tuesday, May 3, 2011

WEEK 48 - April 21 - 27, 2011 - 47 weeks old

I am 11 months old this week!  I have so many new things I'm learning each day that I am really starting to keep my Mommy and Daddy on their toes.  Mommy can't believe that I am close to 1 year old and has already started planning my birthday party for Memorial Day weekend.

I'm trying all kinds of new foods as I get older.  Mommy made some special "Kaety" foods -  spinach, potatoes & chicken; broccoli & cauliflower with cheese sauce; tuna noodle casserole - and I like ALL of them.  I haven't found a food I won't eat.  I'm even starting to try to pick at Mommy's or Daddy's food when we are having dinners.  I like food.  What can I say, I'm a big runs in my family! :)

In addition to eating, I have just about mastered the art of the Sippy Cup.  I like to drink water (LOVE to drink water) and I get very excited when that Sippy Cup comes out.  I can pick it up and then I throw back my head and get my drink out of it.  I can be a wee bit messy when doing this, so Mommy relegates the Sippy Cup to being used when I'm in my dining chair or in the kitchen still, but as you can see...I'm getting there!

This week has been a wonderful week.  We had pictures at school, and though most of my pictures I had a hard time smiling in, we did get a few (see above) where I'm smiling.  There were also pictures of our class and my teachers taken.  (Those all turned out really good! :))

Me - NOT smiling...but I'm still awfully cute, according to my Mommy!

My class: Ms. Audrey, Ms. Elsa, Ms. Kathy, me, PJ, Ben, Peyton, Michael, Olivia & Christopher

My beautiful teachers, Ms. Elsa & Ms. Audrey
We're starting to have - some beautiful days here in Seattle and to celebrate (and so I could spend some time with my friends), we went to the ZOO with Ms. Holly and Kayla the day before Easter.  It was HOPPING, and I don't just mean because of the kangaroos there!  Apparently every year, there is a "Bunny Bounce" at the zoo the weekend of Easter.  Mommy didn't realize this when we made plans.  The Easter Bunny was there and they were having egg hunts, and Mommy said she was pretty sure that almost all of Seattle was at the zoo that day!  I didn't get to go on an egg hunt, as Mommy thought I was maybe a bit too small, but I did get to see all the people and hang out and play with my friend Kayla for the WHOLE day outside!

Me "talking" to Kayla at the zoo

Kayla thinks I'm funny!
The day after the Zoo was EASTER!  I think I saw that bunny hopping through my yard, but I'm not sure.  It was pretty rainy, so we ended up not doing much outside, but we did go to brunch and I got to have yummy breadsticks at the Olive Garden...I'm a BIG fan!  I hope you had a great Easter...I sure did!