Tuesday, August 31, 2010


I'm realizing more and more that blogging is a form of therapy for me. It helps me to get my feelings on "paper" as it were, to organize my thoughts and share them. Maybe it's a way of lessening my burden, and maybe I even hope that in some way, my hard times might help someone else. Still, I don't want you all to think that it is constant gloom & doom around here. I'm relatively certain that there are more good days than bad. I adore all three of my children and my wonderful husband. And we're all adjusting relatively well to our new normal—in fact, if you were to ask my older children the name of Roo's diagnosis, they couldn't even tell you. I try to talk to them about it, but they are just so caught up in their own worlds loving and accepting of him, that they don't really notice or care that he's "different." That's all good stuff. So I'm sorry if that's not the picture that I tend to paint here.

Apology accepted? OK, because today I'm going to complain, so are we ready to move on? Good.

I'm having the day from hell.

It started at 5:15, which is when Roo decided that he could not wait ONE MINUTE MORE to eat. To be fair, he is a remarkably good sleeper, and started sleeping through the night at 2 months; but for the past few weeks he's been getting up to eat between 5:00 and 6:00. He goes right back to sleep, so it's not the end of the world, except for what happens next…

I feed him, go back to bed, and my weight on the mattress wakes my hubby up juuuuuuuuuuuuust enough to push his snore button. Seriously. Every. single. morning.

This morning, though, I was determined to have a good attitude. So I climbed back out of bed and ran a nice hot bath. I lay in the bathtub, read my Bible, and prayed. It WILL be a good day. It WILL be a good day. It WILL be a good day.

After my bath, I decided to make use of the quiet to make my meal plan for the week. (I like to plan out a week's worth of meals—it makes grocery shopping easier and cooking dinner much more enjoyable for me.) It was about this time that I realized I'm getting my latest dose of crazy. No, it has nothing to do with any kind of monthly cycle. When Monkey was born, I was hit with depression that knocked me off my feet. It's much more manageable now, but it still sneaks up on me. One of my key symptoms is feeling overwhelmed by everyday tasks… like trying to plan a week's worth of dinners. Planning the meals and making my grocery list took me the better part of two hours. (To be fair, my family all got up about 45-minutes into it, so I was also helping the kids, talking to my hubby, etc, etc.) Meanwhile I was haunted by the dishes, laundry, and general straightening up that were supposed to get done yesterday but didn't because I spent most of the afternoon holding a fussy baby. Prioritizing is also difficult for me when the crazy hits. I was completely overwhelmed by this point, and it was only 8 AM. And here is really the problem with the rest of the day—the day itself hasn't been all that terrible, but my emotions have been out of control.

I got dressed and ready for the day, and I realized that these "crazy days" as my husband and I call them are happening more often now. They had almost disappeared when I was pregnant with Roo, and so much has happened with him, it's been hard to differentiate situational depression from… whatever the other kind is that I have. But lately they seem to be coming more and more regularly. Maybe it's time I go back to counseling, I thought. I haven't gone since right after I got pregnant with Roo. Where's the money going to come from? Who's going to watch the kids? What good is really going to come from it? I don't need a counselor, I need a live-in maid. I pushed those thoughts aside and repeated my mantra for the day… It WILL be a good day. It WILL be a good day.

I took Lamb to her kindergarten assessment, and I was left in the hall with my thoughts. Am I the only mom whose "mom guilt" reaches a whole new level when it's time for their kids to start school? Not only am I dealing with the emotions of my baby going off to school, I am suddenly wracked with guilt over the things we never got around to doing while she was little, worrying that my crappy parenting will shine through to my child's teachers and the "room moms", feeling inferior because I can't manage to be in her classroom every single week with the two boys still at home, afraid that other moms will judge me for how she dresses or how she acts or what I do (or don't!) put in her lunchbox or for letting her ride the bus or for NOT letting her ride the bus or… Well, you get the idea. These were the thoughts in my head as I waited for her to finish her assessment. I really wish I would have thought to take a darn book. It WILL be a good day, though, I told myself. It WILL be a good day.

And then while I waited, the preschool class walks by. Our local elementary school has an integrated preschool—with special needs and "develop-normal" kids (as our genetic counselor calls them)—right in the building. Cute little 4-year-olds. And at the end of the line, an absolutely adorable little boy… who has Down syndrome. It was almost more than I could take. Thank goodness there were other parents in the hallway, so I felt the need to hold it together.

Then during a quick trip to Giant Eagle, two of my coupons fell down inside the conveyer belt for the groceries. Then I noticed a bluish tint to one of the roasts we had picked up. Then I asked to redeem our "food perks" (you can earn a discount on grocery purchases) and was told we didn't have any, even though I knew that we had 4% off that was supposed to expire TODAY. By then the people in line behind me were quite through with me. I was so flustered that I didn't realize that I was missing a $2 catalina coupon that I had planned on. It was supposed to come from purchasing 20 Yoplait yogurts. I realized it later, pulled out my receipt, and found that I had managed to purchase 19 Yoplaits. Lovely. It WILL be a good day. It WILL be a good day.

I stopped by my husband's office, where he explained that he had used up our food perks two days ago because he didn't want them to expire. "Well, at least it was only a $3 mistake," he said. True, but I wouldn't have s.q.u.e.e.z.e.d. that trip to Giant Eagle into my already overloaded day if it hadn't been for that extra 4% discount. The food that I needed for dinner tonight was at Acme, where I still needed to go.

So we ran to Acme and then ran back home to get everything put away. But on the way home, I was hit again with exhaustion, impatience, and a hugely overwhelmed feeling. I absolutely could not handle going home and making lunch. We dropped our groceries off at home (putting the refrigerator/freezer items away!) and went to Burger King, where there is a play place. This time I DID grab a book, so I had something to keep me occupied while the kids played. But for some reason, I thought that The Year My Son and I were Born, a story about a mom's first year with her son who has Down syndrome, was a suitable book for me to read in public. I was wrong. I spent the whole time fighting back tears. (It is really good, though, and I highly recommend it for anyone who knows someone with a Down's child—which, ahem, most of you do. ;-) So many of the thoughts and feelings she expresses are word-for-word things that I have said, prayed, or thought.) Then poor Lamb just wanted to play on this ONE PART of the play area, but another little girl absolutely REFUSED to let anyone else come near it. The mom was RIGHT there, and was chatting quite pleasantly with me, but had NO interest whatsoever in asking her daughter to let someone else have a turn. Oh, and while we were in there, Roo pooped… and I had left the diapers in the van. I forgot to change him until we got home, at which point it was all over his belly, back, and clothes too.

So… I give up. It's not a good day. Nothing that has happened today is huge. It's more like… Chinese water torture. Little drops of water on my forehead, one at a time. Drip, drip, drip. And now I'm home, surrounded by laundry and dishes and groceries and kids with attitudes and a million other little drops. And my baby is going to kindergarten. And I am still going to have two little boys at home. And I am ready for Roo to start doing things a 5-month-old should be doing. And I'm not in a good place emotionally. Oh, and a week ago, our pastor preached on narcissism and specifically mentioned blogging, and now I am realizing just how me-centered this blog—and especially this post—really is, and I feel guilty. And it all just sucks. And I just got a very nice complimentary e-mail where someone commented on my "heart for the Lord", so now I'm feeling guilty for saying "hell" in my blog.

Yep, it's a bad day. And to be honest, the bad days seem worse with Down's in our lives. And the good days still don't seem quite as good as they could be. I wish I could tie this all up neatly with an encouragement—for your sake and mine. A silver lining, a pat on the arm to say, "Don't worry, we'll be OK." But I don't have that right now. We will be OK, I just don't feel it.

So I'm going to get my kids up from their naps (something I should have done an hour ago…………….) and just hang out with them a little bit. Maybe we'll read Alexander and the Terrible, Horrible, No Good, Very Bad Day. ;-) Thanks for "listening."

Friday, August 27, 2010

We interrupt this blog...

Good morning, friends.  I know I have been a bad blogging buddy lately.  My dear sweet little Lamb goes to KINDERGARTEN next week!  NEXT WEEK!  And since I spent most of the summer feeling sorry for myself and my family, it ate into our fun time.  I have spent the past several days doing all of the fun stuff I planned to do throughout the summer.  In the past week we have gone to the beach, 2 zoos, a kiddie amusement park, and a couple of friends' houses.  Also in that time, my parents took ALL THREE of my kids for over 24 hours straight so that I could get caught up on some things that have been piling up around here since Roo was born.  It has been complete craziness, and completely wonderful.

All that to say, I will be back to posting soon.  But right now, I am knee-deep in having fun with my kiddos.  I'll see you soon!

Friday, August 20, 2010

It’s about time

I have come to a realization. I'm going through some tough stuff right now (No, that is NOT my realization. I'm laying the groundwork here—go with it.), but I'm realizing that I am not going to "get back at life" by eating myself into oblivion. I am not going to prove to God that He was wrong to put these things in my path by lazily refusing to take care of myself. It was worth a shot, but it seems that laying on the couch eating Oreos is not going to fix anything.

Which leads me to a question I've been asking myself lately… Why do I go into "self-destruct mode" when I need to be at my strongest? Right now I feel like many things in life are out of my control, but there are a few things I can do for myself—like go to bed early, eat right, drink lots of water, read my Bible. I'm not going to put "exercise" on that list right now because I have been trying to find time for that and it is really stressing me out right now. But I could at least push myself to be more active with my kids. Don't you love how I can just rattle those things right off? I know all the right things to do. But I'm not doing them. Instead, I'm staying awake far too late (especially considering that Roo is typically up between 5 and 6 in the morning—he often eats and goes back to sleep, but then I'm up for good), eating everything in sight, hardly drinking ANYTHING (I seriously think that I sometimes go 2 days straight without a glass of water, and maybe 1 can of pop in there somewhere.), and worrying more about keeping up on Booth & Brennan (I love "Bones" J) than what God has to say to me. (Yes, I know, it's just summer reruns now, but you get my point.)

And yes, I appreciate the encouragement from those who have told me to give myself a little grace, to give myself a break and realize that things are tough right now. But that's just my point—I'm not helping anything. Do you know that I feel the need to apologize for myself when I meet new people? I want to say, "Hi, I'm Katy. I'm sorry for the way I look—I don't plan to always look this way, but… well… it's been a tough couple of months and I've put on some weight." I don't actually do that, but I have to fight back the words. I seriously wake up in the mornings and I just don't. like. myself. This does not set the stage well for good parenting or coping or… just about anything else.

Last year I started going to counseling for depression. I stopped going shortly after I got pregnant with Roo, but that's another story for another day. Anyway, I liked a lot of things about my counselor, but she routinely recommended that I "give myself some grace." Her advice wasn't wrong—when I'm overwhelmed by depression, I don't also need to overwhelm myself with guilt about the things that I'm not getting accomplished. But sometimes I don't need someone to tell me to take it easy. Sometimes I need someone to kick me in the butt and tell me to get on with life. Sometimes I need to be reminded that pushing through the crummy times will help to reduce the crumminess.

So I guess… that's what I'm doing for myself this morning. "Self," I'm saying, "get out of bed, get a shower, and get started on the day. Take control of what you can control and let go of the rest." It's time to kick myself in the butt, figuratively speaking of course. I won't be able to do that literally for another 20 pounds or so. It's time to accept where I am—with my body, with the unfinished house projects, with my Bible study—and take steps to improve it. Right? I hope you realize that it's a lot easier to type this stuff than to actually say it out loud like I mean it. But I have to start somewhere, and for now I guess I have to fake it till I make it.

That's my plan for today. Or at least for the next 5 minutes. After that I'll have to come back here and reread this post and get myself going for the 5 minutes after that.

So if you see me out somewhere—at my house, at the store, somewhere in cyberspace—could you kick me in the butt a little? Or maybe just give me a hug, that would be good too. Feel free to tell me that I look like I'm losing weight (yes, lie to me, I'm OK with that), that you're praying for me (I hope that one's not a lie!), that it's going to be OK (pretty sure that one's not a lie, but sometimes I have my doubts). But whatever you do, don't tell me to give myself a break. ;-)

Tuesday, August 17, 2010

What is it to you?

Peter turned and saw that the disciple whom Jesus loved was following them. (This was the one who had leaned back against Jesus at the supper and had said, "Lord, who is going to betray you?") When Peter saw him, he asked, "Lord, what about him?"
Jesus answered, "If I want him to remain alive until I return, what is that to you? You must follow me." --John 21:20-22

First, some background. Jesus had just asked Peter to "feed the sheep" three times, an indirect response to Peter's three denials of Christ at the cross. Peter may not always have said the right thing, but he was no dummy. He knew Jesus' comments were because of his denials, and he wanted to take the heat off of himself. What better way to do that than to put the spotlight on someone else? He saw John ("the disciple whom Jesus loved") and said, "Hey… um… what about him?" I mean, surely Jesus wanted him to do something, since he loved him so much, right? Shouldn't we talk about how he messed up? What does he need to do? HMMMM??????

I love this passage on so many levels. First of all, Jesus' tone almost makes me laugh out loud. I can't count the number of times in a day that I get frustrated with my children and spout out, "You worry about YOU." That's essentially what Jesus is saying here. "Mind your own beeswax, Peter!" J As a parent, it's nice to know that I'm in good company with my lack of patience for this behavior. In fact…….. maybe next time I'll just say, "As Jesus would say, 'What is that to you?'" Maybe not.

But here's one of those double-edged swords. As much as I don't like to see that nosiness in my children… far too often, I am Peter. I really struggle with jealousy, friends, and yesterday the Lord hit me over the head with this passage. I got an e-mail from a friend with some news in it. It wasn't BIG news—in fact, I don't even know if "news" is the right word. It was just an update, just some information of something that they found out. It was something that I wanted for myself, for my family. It set off a jealousy that just snowballed into a major bad mood.

And God said, "Really? You're letting the day get ruined over this?" And then He said, "What is it to you?"
God has a plan for my friend and her family. God has a plan for the woman who is succeeding in ministry where I am still floundering. God has a plan for those who skinnier, richer, more popular, and more talented than I am. God has a plan for all of those families out there without special needs children.

But God has a plan for me too. When I spend my time looking at their path, envying their journey or trying to make myself feel better by looking at their flaws, I'm taking my eyes off of my own path, where Christ is leading me. I'm taking my eyes off of Him. And how can I follow Him when I'm not even looking at Him?
"What is that to you? You must follow me." Jesus said it to Peter two thousand years ago, and He has said it to me over and over again. Each of us is on a unique journey, and while they all intertwine and we have responsibilities to love and support and encourage each other, we have to recognize that we cannot walk someone else's path—so why take time away from our own lives worrying about theirs?

This experience has served as another good reminder for me as well. As soon as I started getting down and upset about this situation with my friend, this passage immediately popped into my head. I didn't have to go find a Bible dictionary and search for "jealousy" to see what God has to say. I learned this passage years ago, and God brought it to mind when it was appropriate. The word of God is "living and active" and God often uses it to speak to us. It's not only when we're physically sitting down with our Bibles and reading, it is often when we're going through a hard time—or even a great time—and God reminds us of an appropriate verse/passage/book from the Bible. But we can't remember things that we haven't learned. And we're much less likely to remember things that we haven't read in months or years. If I want to hear God speak, I need to be filling my mind with His voice, His words.

So that when I say, "But look at her!"… God can say, "What is that to you?"

So that when I say, "I don't like myself"… God can say, "You are fearfully and wonderfully made."

So that when I say, "Where are you, Lord?"… God can say, "I will never leave you nor forsake you."

So that when I say, "Do I even have a purpose?"… God can say, "You are part of my body."

So that when I say, "How are we going to face the future?"… God can say, "Do not worry about tomorrow."

Enjoy your journey, friends.

Saturday, August 14, 2010

Look what I found!!!!

I know it's too early to be thinking about Halloween--I'm the first to complain when stores start putting stuff out way in advance for different seasons/holidays.  But I couldn't help myself.  I did some searching online today, and look what I found...

How awesome is that???  I actually blame my premature search on Babies R Us, b/c I was there the other day and they had their costumes out already.  They actually had a really cute kangaroo costume there too, but it was a mommy kangaroo w/ a baby in her pouch--does it seem wrong to put that on a boy, or is it just me?  But HOW COOL would it be to have the "real" Roo costume?

Now if only I could talk my hubby into a $30 costume for a then-7-month-old...

Thursday, August 12, 2010

And the winner is...

Thank you all for the great lunch, snack, and organization tips!  I can't believe that my baby girl is going to kindergarten!!!  I am a little sad, but more than anything I am excited for her.  She is going to love it, and I am enjoying the "back-to-school prep" we've been doing.  :-)

And of course, as a thank you for your help, I have a gift card to give away!  The winner is......... Jennie H!  Congratulations!  You will be getting a $25 Target gift card to help with YOUR back-to-school shopping.  :-)

In other news, we had an absolutely WONDERFUL time on our trip!  I am sure I will be posting more about it, but for tonight I am supposed to be watching a movie with my dear hubby... so for now let me just share a couple of photos:

Have a great night!  See you soon.  :-)

Monday, August 9, 2010

Upping the Ante

Greetings from Niagara Falls!!!!  We arrived last night and are having an absolutely FABULOUS time.  I only have a second, but I wanted to thank you all again for your prayers for our family, AND I wanted to share one other thing with you...

I am upping the giveaway to a $25 Target gift card!!!  To enter to win, go to the original post and comment.  I am looking for tips on school lunches, after-school snacks, and organization tips.  You can get one entry for each back-to-school tip you leave.  You can also get additional entries for sharing my blog on FB, Twitter, StumbleUpon, or pretty much any social media you can think of.  :-)  Just leave a comment letting me know where you shared and you'll get entered again.

So get commenting, friends!  See you later this week!

Thursday, August 5, 2010

Let’s Spice it up!

****Edited to add a deadline for the giveaway... duh!****

In college I dated a guy whose mantra was "variety is the spice of life." For the record, that is not a good philosophy for your significant other to have.

But that's beside the point. Really, I wanted to spice things up by talking about some fun stuff. Let's proceed.

Fun stuff #1 – MY BABY IS STARTING KINDERGARTEN THIS MONTH!!!! Is it really THAT TIME? I am not old enough for this…! Anyway, I need some creative help here, friends. I need ideas for lunches and after-school snacks. I could also use some tips on how you keep all of the papers, homework, etc, organized. And in order to motivate you all, one lucky tipster will be rewarded with a $10 $25 Target gift card to help with all of your back-to-school shopping! Does it get any better than this? So come on, let's hear it! (Hint: You will get one entry for each comment that you leave, so you may want to put just one tip per comment… Just a thought…)  For an additional entry, share this blog or this post and leave a comment here when you do.  (You can share using a variety of media--Facebook, Twitter, Google, etc, etc.  To share this post, use the buttons at the bottom of the post; to share the blog, use the buttons on the right-hand side of the page.)  The deadline to enter this contest is Thursday, August 12 at 8 PM.  Why?  Because tomorrow seems too soon, I don't want to do it over the weekend, and then we're going to Niagara Falls.  By then we'll be home from the Falls, home from a day out with friends, and the kids will be in bed.  :-)  The winner will be chosen at random--again, likely a number chosen by Lamb.

Fun stuff #2 – Speaking of giveaways, I'm trying to win one myself. AkronOhioMoms is a fabulous blog full of great information and lots of free stuff. J I found it on Facebook (of course!) and it has quickly become one of my favorite blogs. Currently, there is one giveaway that I really want to win—4 lawn tickets to see "Disney in Concert – Magic Music from the Movies" at Blossom on August 21. My kids (and us grown-ups too!) would absolutely love this show!!! Go here to see how you can enter to win tickets, as well as get more information on how to buy tickets for this or other Blossom shows this summer. But if one of you wins, you owe me big-time. Ha ha, just kidding. Kind of. ;-)

Fun stuff #3 – We're going on a trip in our favorite rocket ship! Actually, we're going in the van, but Monkey is a big fan of Little Einsteins, so that's what I thought of… Anyway, we leave Sunday for a getaway to Niagara Falls. YAY! I am super super super excited, both for the destination and just for the chance to get away from everything with my family for a few days. And since my time will be spent relaxing, enjoying, not thinking about Down syndrome or kindergarten or anything like that, you probably won't hear from me while we're gone, but rest assured that I will be back! Not sure if that's a promise or a threat…

Fun stuff #4 – Get a load of these cuties! J

OK, time to stop ignoring those cute little faces. Have a great day! Don't forget to visit AkronOhioMoms to enter the Disney in Concert giveaway (and maybe a few others while you're there!), and leave your comments here for my own much smaller but still fun back-to-school giveaway. J

Tuesday, August 3, 2010

Life in Holland

Well, I've given you all the latest updates on Roo's tests and treatments, and I've given you an emotional rant or two, but I thought I would take some time to talk to you a little bit more about what life has been like in our house for the past six weeks since Roo's diagnosis.

Here's the long and short of it: It varies minute-by-minute. That's become my standard response when people ask how I'm doing, and it is not a blow-off answer—it is absolutely the truth.

The morning after our first visit to the geneticist, I was almost overwhelmed by how… mundane the morning was. It wasn't any different than the morning before. The sun came up, the kids got up, we ate breakfast… and it was fine. It was normal. It just wasn't good. I kept thinking, "We're OK, but when do we get to be happy again?" The whole idea of being happy ever again seemed ridiculous. How could we dare be happy knowing that Roo was going to go through life with Down syndrome?

Facing people made me almost panicky. The following week I was supposed to meet up with some college friends for a mini-kid-friendly-reunion, but how could I? People were bound to want to see and talk about Roo. The idea of having 15 one-on-one conversations about it made me sick to my stomach, and trying to make a big announcement at lunch didn't seem any better. I really wanted to be there but didn't think I could go through with it. Finally I decided to send a mass e-mail, and I'm sure some of the girls thought I was crazy to make such a big deal about it—but it was the only way I could handle the trip, and they were all very supportive and kind about it. (It ended up being a great break for me and the kids, so I'm glad I went.)

And what about running into people I knew just around town? How do you break this news in the toy aisle of Wal-Mart? And what were they supposed to say? I hated seeing that awkward look on people's faces, that look that says, "Wow, I only said, 'What's new?' to be nice. Now what?" Yes, I know I'm oversimplifying, but you know what I mean.

The idea of talking to strangers wasn't any easier. Roo was (and is) so tiny and so darn cute, people can't help but want to talk to him and fuss over them. (And who can blame them, really?) So should I tell them he has Down syndrome? To blurt it out seemed overly dramatic and like I was begging for sympathy. But to not say anything made me feel like I was ashamed of him or just pretending that everything was OK. Part of me would actually look forward to his condition being more obvious so that I wouldn't have to explain that he has Down's, while at the same time my heart shattered every time I thought about him having an obvious disability.

I also had a stomachache. For… well, I don't really know for how long. It was at least 2-3 weeks straight. Since then, it just returns from time to time when I start to worry about something specific with Roo, like the day of the echocardiogram, or the week that we were waiting for the latest karyotype results. It's less often now, but I do actually wonder if I have given myself an ulcer over this.

Shortly after Roo's diagnosis, I began to look at some things in our life and realized that God had been preparing us for this, just not in the ways I had expected. For one thing, the geneticist's office recommended we get in touch with Help Me Grow, a service the state provides to parents of children under the age of 3. I had actually already been involved with Help Me Grow (long story short, I'd heard good things about them and got connected with a service coordinator when Lamb was just a few months old, so I'd had a service coordinator for 5 years), and my service coordinator had already come out to visit since Roo had been born. We had planned to just do some basic age-appropriate activities with Roo, just like we had done with my other kids. I called her the day after the appointment to tell her that we were going to need a new plan.

A few days later, we received a very nice card in the mail from her, along with an essay called Welcome to Holland. Since then several others have also sent or e-mailed me the same essay. It truly is a fabulous explanation of life with a special needs child, and it really helped me to put words to my feelings. I highly recommend that everyone read it.

My emotions were—and continue to be—all over the place. Sometimes I am overwhelmingly sad. Sometimes I decide that it's time to pull myself up by my bootstraps and move on. And sometimes I feel completely numb. But more than anything, especially in the first week or two, I have been angry, as you may have guessed from my recent "top ten" list. Not with Roo, of course, and really not even with God—although there have been moments. It's just been a vague, indiscriminate anger. I would get angry with the doctor for diagnosing it. Angry with people who have lots of children and none with disabilities. Angry with people in the grocery store line or the car in front of me or whatever else I could think of to be angry about.

I think I'm over that initial… onslaught of anger, but I am still on quite a mental roller coaster. I think it's especially hard right now because he really doesn't seem different from any other baby. Yes, if you lay him down next to any other 4-month-old, you would definitely notice developmental differences—Roo can't sit up with support, he doesn't reach for toys as well as he should, if he's on his belly he can only hold his head up for a few seconds. But I don't lay him down next to other 4-month-olds, so I don't notice. Add to that the fact that he's still the size of a 1-month-old (more on that in a minute), and he really seems developmentally normal to most people. So much of the time, I think the reality of it just hasn't set in. And then some days it hits me just how permanent this all is—this isn't some sickness that he'll recover from, it's not a "delay" that he'll outgrow. This is it. Forever. On those days, it literally takes the breath right out of me.

The things that overwhelm me aren't the short-term issues—the delayed crawling and walking, the blocked tear ducts, the early intervention, etc. Believe it or not, I get absolutely weighed down by the idea that he will probably get made fun of in school, that he probably won't get married, that he's not likely to ever have children. I worry about what he'll do for a living, where he'll live.

The saving grace to this whole fiasco has definitely been my big kids, who absolutely dote on him and think every single thing he does is fabulous. They love going to play with Nana & Papa or their friends when Roo has appointments; they introduce themselves to the therapists who come over and ask them to play; they keep a close eye on him and make sure to report to me anything exciting that he does—you know, like, breathing. Their simple and unconditional love is beautiful. And the fact that Roo is so sweet and adorable, well, that helps too. ;-) And my husband—oh, my wonderful husband. He is amazing. He ran right through those 5 stages of grief and got to acceptance in record time. Not that he's happy about the diagnosis, but he is fabulously looking on the bright side. He told me a few days after that first appointment, "Our other kids will outgrow me. But Roo won't. He'll be my buddy." Jon is looking forward to taking Roo to work with him, doing projects together. It simultaneously warms and breaks my heart. Talk about bittersweet.
So that's… where we are, I guess. I'm sure there is more, but that's all I can think of right now. That's our life in a nut shell.

By the way, today was Roo's 4-month well-child visit. I had a hard time going to the appointment because it seems wrong to take him to a "well" anything. Yes, I know, he's not sick… I'm just still adjusting, you know? ANYWAY, it went fine—as in, no new bombs were dropped, which is all that I can ask for at this point. He is growing well, and is now up to 10 pounds, 9 ounces (and 22.8 inches long)! Grow, baby, grow! J Our pediatrician wants to keep him on the higher calorie formula until he's eating solid foods, but other than that did not have any pressing concerns.  (I don't think I mentioned this before, but the breastfeeding didn't last long once we got home from the hospital.  Pumping every 3 hours with 3 little kids just didn't happen.

So thank you for your continued prayers. We are adjusting to life in Holland, trying to enjoy the sites. See you soon.

Sunday, August 1, 2010

Bedtime Stories

As I put Roo to bed tonight, I decided to tell him a story. It's cheesy and needs a LOT of work, but I wanted to share it with you. And Roo liked it. ;-) I hope you've all had a great weekend, and I look forward to sharing more with you soon.

Once upon a time there was a handsome prince. He was loved and adored by his family and everyone in the kingdom.

One day the king and queen decided to take their prince for a walk. At the foot of the path, they met a man in a strange cloak, who stopped them and asked to see the prince. "May I give him a blessing?" asked the stranger as he held the infant. The king and queen nodded. "The walk you take today is no ordinary stroll. You are about to embark on a journey that will change your lives forever. At the end of your journey, this prince will be unlike any this kingdom has ever seen. He will be sweet and kind. He will be strong and courageous. He will touch the lives of many and bring joy to all he meets."

The queen smiled. "Thank you, kind sir."

"But that is not all," the man continued. "This greatness comes at a cost. Your prince will face many foes—they will attack his mind, so that it is harder for him to learn. They will attack his legs, so that it is harder for him to walk. They will attack his body, so that it is harder for him to fight back. They will even attack his spirit, hoping that their vicious words will keep him from achieving his great destiny. It will be more than he can handle on his own."

The king snatched his child from the arms of the stranger. "Thank you," he said curtly, "but we cannot accept your 'blessing.'"

"Ah, but you have no choice," the man replied. "Without this journey, your prince cannot be the man he was created to be. Without the hardship, there is no joy. Without the battles, there is no victory."

The king and queen stared at the path before them. They were so unprepared. They had only planned on a short walk, a pleasant stroll through the country. How could they handle this journey laid out before them? But how could they turn around now and not let their son become this great man the stranger had spoken of?

"Do not be afraid," the stranger encouraged them. "I am equipping not only the prince, but each of you as well. Together you will face his enemies—your enemies. Together you will enjoy the victories. And I have placed help for you along the way, for the battles that you cannot face by yourselves. The road will be rough at times, but not impossible. And in the end, it will all be worth it."

With that, the stranger disappeared, leaving the king and queen overwhelmed and wondering what to do next. They looked at their sweet son. Tears streamed down their faces as they thought of the battles that were ahead, but they knew what they had to do. Holding tightly to each other, they looked down the path… and took a step.