Monday, March 31, 2014


Four years ago today, I embarked on the most incredible journey of my life. And I didn't even know it.

Four years ago today, our family was joined by a teeny tiny miracle. Just 4 pounds, 2 ounces.

I didn't know that this was an extra special miracle. I thought it was your run-of-the-mill miracle--amazing, but no different than the miracles that all moms and dads bring home from the hospital.

We didn't find out for almost three months. That our baby Roo had, in that tiny little body, an extra chromosome in every single cell.

But here's the crazy part: we thought it was bad news. We didn't really get it. We cried and mourned.

We prayed for a miracle. And it was already right there in front of us.

We watched Roo grow and change, and we began to accept Down syndrome as a part of our lives. We knew we would be OK.

We saw Roo learn new things, and we celebrated. Every milestone--no matter how small--was a joy.

We worked relentlessly with Roo on things--life skills, stuff we thought was important. How to sit up, stand, walk. How to hold objects, feed himself, drink from a cup.

We learned that the harder you work for something, the sweeter the victory.

And then there were the things that Roo didn't need to work for, things that came naturally to him.

We realized that Roo had the uncanny ability to light up a room when he entered. The absolute joy that he emits (along with a hearty dose of orneriness) draws people in.

We saw him go out of his way to bring a smile to someone's face when they were upset.

We observed him tackle each new challenge willingly, but without desperation or fear. He wasn't upset or worried when he couldn't do something. He just kept trying.

We began to understand that we could relax. We stopped worrying so much about the outcome and began to embrace the journey.

And somewhere along the way, we realized that we had changed, too.

We no longer simply accepted Down syndrome. We became thankful for it.

Because no matter how much we teach Roo, he teaches us more.

When you reach the proper age
I will teach you to read and you can turn the pages
How to dress and tie your shoes
Your one plus ones, and your two times two's
And you'll teach me
Of hearts and dreams
And all the most important things
And all that I have lost along the way
And I can't wait

--Sara Groves, "I Can't Wait"

Happy 4th birthday, my dear sweet baby Roo.

Friday, March 21, 2014

World Down Syndrome Day

It's World Down Syndrome Day!!!!

March 21 (3/21) is World Down Syndrome Day because individuals with Down syndrome have 3 copies of the 21st chromosome. Pretty cool, eh?

Let me be honest with you here... in 10 days someone veeeeeeerrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrryyyyyyyyy special to me will be having a birthday, so I am saving a "big" post for that. But I didn't want to let this day slip by unnoticed.

So today I want to ask you... what do you think of when you hear the term "Down syndrome"? Or the term "disability"? Or "special needs"?

Because I have to tell you...

Four years ago...


is not what I pictured.

I had no idea...

just how...


it could be!

Happy 3/21!!!!!!!!!!!! :-)


Monday, March 10, 2014

Bowling (with Roo) for Dummies

Yesterday we met up with some friends after church to go bowling. It is the first time we have been bowling in 2-3 years! Yikes! How are my children going to have a normal childhood when they only get to bowl once every 2 to 3 years?!?

Anyway, this was Roo's first bowling experience, and it definitely taught me some important life lessons. Here they are, in no particular order...
  • DON'T go bowling at lunchtime.
  • DON'T go bowling at nap time.
  • DO get Roo his own lane, so that he doesn't have to suffer the indignity of waiting for his turn. Failure to heed this bit of advice will result in wailing, gnashing of teeth, tantrums, and other gentle reminders that he prefers his own personal space.
  • DO grab the lane next to two special needs care providers. They will love him to pieces, and will even go play arcade games and win him a ball to play with, should you ignore the above rule and the poor child has to wait for other people to bowl.
  • DON'T press your luck. He may seem to settle down toward the end of the first game, but don't be fooled: starting a second game will only begin a new wave of tantrums and squirming.
  • DON'T forget your running shoes should you decide to let him "walk it off" for a bit, or in case some nice person gives him a ball that he then throws and chases around the bowling alley for the better part of an hour.
  • DO dress for summer. Wrangling and chasing Roo all over the establishment will be the best workout you've had in weeks. A long-sleeved shirt, sweater, and jeans will just be overkill.
  • DO go with caring and patient friends who will put up with all of the above.

Thursday, March 6, 2014

It's the thought...

"Mommy! Mommy!!!"

Monkey is home from school today on doctor's orders. He has strep throat, but is really feeling pretty good. It's like a dream come true for a 7-year-old boy--you HAVE to stay home from school when you're feeling well enough to enjoy it. It's almost like you're getting away with something.

I was folding laundry upstairs when he came running, calling excitedly.

"You'll never believe what just happened! I was downstairs, and I thought, 'I need to do something nice for Mommy.' So I decided to play Mario Kart, but I picked YOU at the beginning instead of me. And guess what! I got first place--and I won you a new circuit AND a new vehicle!!!! And I did it just for you, Mommy, because you're such a great mom."

He flashed me a proud smile & a thumbs up, give me a wink (Where did he learn that?!?), and practically skipped back downstairs, so proud of his kindness.

Maybe he IS getting away with something.

Monday, March 3, 2014

Book review: "And Life Comes Back"

Two years ago, I had the privilege of meeting one of my heroes. She and I had common friends, she used to attend my church before moving to Colorado, our lives criss-crossed over and over. And when I had a chance to plan an event, I asked her to come and share her heart with us, never having heard her speak. And she did not disappoint.

And now I have the honor of encouraging you to go out and buy her book, her debut as a published author. And once again, she does not disappoint.

On December 22, 2010, Tricia Lott Williford was sitting in Starbucks, working to meet deadlines. Her husband texted her to let her know that he was miserably sick, and she worried about their Christmas plans.

On December 23, she held him in her arms as he died, their two small boys sleeping in the next room.

Words fail me right now. What can be said about a man who dies to soon, a wife without a husband, boys without a father? And yet, Tricia captures their story--not just of Robb's death, but of their life together, and of her journey to find life without him.

And Life Comes Back is a story of grief and of happiness, of weakness and of strength, of uncertainty and confidence. Tricia's openness combines with her beautiful prose to create a book that you just can't put down--so be prepared to hold your Kleenex in one hand and the book in the other. She is not afraid to take us, her fortunate readers, into her despair--but she doesn't leave us there. She reminds us that God is faithful and sovereign and good, even when we can't make sense of it all. She tells us that, even when winter is long and lonely and cold, spring is coming.

I want to write you dozens of pages of praise for this book. I want to give you a whole list of my favorite anecdotes and quotes and lessons learned. But I can't, because that would spoil it. You need to read Tricia's words in Tricia's timing. You need to

And Life Comes Back was released on February 18, and is getting fantastic reviews all over the place, so you don't have to take my word for it. ;-) But I hope you do. I hope you buy it and read it and love it and read it again.

And when you do, you'll feel like Tricia is an old friend, and you'll want to keep in touch. That's when you'll want to head over to her website. This is one of my favorite places to visit in the whole entire bloggy universe. And now I'm sharing it with you. You're welcome.

So what are you still doing here? Get yourself on over to Amazon and buy And Life Comes Back by Tricia Lott Williford. And some tissues. Definitely remember to buy some tissues.

See you tomorrow. ;-)