Thursday, July 14, 2011

How Can I Help?

I would be lying if I didn't say that this year has been incredibly taxing on our family physically, emotionally, financially, spiritually, etc.  But I'm a firm believer that we receive the trials in our lives

A) Because God knows us and knows what sort of adversity we need in order to progress and grow as individuals

B) To be mindful of our blessings and to be more appreciative of what we do have in life

This year has been full of growth and introspection. Among the other things that I've pondered over the year has been how incredibly blessed we HAVE been as a family.  Throughout it all, KC and I have had the strength of our friends, family, loved ones, church and faith, an incredibly supportive work environment, and even those who are strangers come to our rescue and lift us up when we were in need of help.  I have been humbled the the generosity, love and grace of others. 

It now appears (knock on wood) that we are finally through the worst of it.  Jacob has had his heart surgery and has been given a clean bill of health in virtually every aspect of his life.  Now all we have to worry about is making sure he has that little extra time needed to progress physically to his milestones.    KC is over the worst of his surgery and is now concentrating on physical therapy and working towards the ever-elusive 100% recovery mark.  Nathan looks well on his way to recovery and appears to actually ENJOY having his cast as an excuse to get out of doing the list of to-do's I create each day. 

Now that the storms have calmed, I've been wondering what I can do to give back and perpetuate all of the love and kindness our family has received - and to help those who may find themselves in a predicament similar to ours - but without the tremendous support system our family has had.  And I've come up with two things I thought I'd share.

First off, we're moving forward with Down Right Living.  It's going to be a non-profit organization designed to help those families touched by those with Down sydrome.  You can check out the website my daughter created at

Secondly, I've found another non-profit that tries to find families for Children with disabilities in other countries.  What I love about it is that there's a grant system.  Finding families with the love and capacity to welcome a special needs child into their home is often difficult.  As soon as a family (regardless of singles, couples, old or young, large family, or no other children - it doesn't matter) commits to adopting a child, Reese's Rainbow starts raising funds to help pay the fees associated with adoption. 

I finally got on to their site to learn more about the children and was flabbergasted at how many children there were (most of the children are institutionalized once they reach the age of 4-6 years of age) who needed homes, and the range of care needed - some needed little or no care.  They just needed a home.

Even if you're not wanting to adopt, it's a great place to check out or donate - $5 makes a big difference to the lives of the child and the families trying to raise the $ needed to bring their babies home.

UPDATE:  We've created a GoFundMe Link to help pay for the fees associated with starting up our non-profit.  Please please PLEASE! Donate if you can.  

 Donate to Down Right Living

Sunday, July 10, 2011

From Infant to Explorer

No news is good news.  I promise! :)

The last two months have been filled with crazy chaos, doctors, therapists, family, friends, and everything in between.

Our family and Jacob have finally begun to settle into our definition of normal - whatever that might be.

KC has begun light duty at work after breaking and dislocating his ankle and ripping all the tendons holding the two bones together.  It has been a long, hard and painful process which a an even longer road that he must continue to travel, but he's a fighter (and he's tired of being at home in the middle of the chaos!).  Now, after nearly 5 months, he is still only at about 60% usability of what he used to be.  He can only walk for a little while before he begins to experience significant pain, often walking with a cane, and by the end of the day, his ankle invariably ends up swelling to about twice its normal size.

Last month Nathan decided to join the ranks of the gimpy and had his foot worked on.  He's been growing so fast that his Achilles tendon could not grow fast enough to accommodate his growth. His feet had been collapsing in on themselves to accommodate the lack of movement.  So, they went in, lengthened the Achilles, broke his foot in two places and grafted bone in to help create a new, strong arch in his foot.  He's about 1 month in to his 4 month ordeal.  It pretty much ruined his summer, but on the upside it got him out of mowing the lawn, doing chores, and any hard labor.  So, he's decided it's a fair trade.

Elisha is neck deep in high-school teen-ager stuff. She's at the tail end of driver's ed, competing in the regionals of Junior Olympics for track, going to volleyball camp next week, and spending as much time as possible doing conditioning for varsity volleyball in the fall.  I look at her schedule and I'm exhausted just thinking about it.

Courtney is still Courtney.  Funny, feisty and FAST.  With KC and Nathan down for the count, Elisha and I have found ourselves doing a lot of chasing after our ornery little toddler who does the exact opposite of what we ask her to do, running away giggling in the process.  I've already cursed her with children just like her when she grows up - twice!  Now I hope she ends up with twins! Bahahahahaha!!!

Jacob, although a tiny little tike, is no longer an infant.  It dawned on me only a couple days ago that he has come a long way from the sickly little heart baby in February.

Each and every day he progresses with leaps and bounds, much to the delight of this therapists. At 8 1/2 months he is rolling EVERYWHERE.  One minute he will be at our feet, we'll look away to talk to Courtney, look back and he will be across the room playing with a toy.  Elisha tried to put him down one day last week and rather than laying him down, she inadvertently put him on his feet.  He stood there by himself for 3 seconds!!  He's not quite sitting on his own, but each day he gets better and I figure he's only a couple weeks away from unassisted sitting.  He's been toying with crawling, but right now finds it easier to just use his legs to catapult himself in the direction he wants to go, much like a frog but not nearly as graceful.

Jake has also found his voice.  We've been working with him exhaustively to make noise - ANY noise.  Who knew that once I got a quiet child, I'd be freaked out that he was so quiet?!  So, we do lots of therapy with him, and he's finally beginning to pronounce his consonants - lots of da da's, ga ga's, ba ba's and such.  His speech is still significantly delayed, but we're finally getting something out of him, and I'm OK with that.

And, my favorite announcement of the month, he's FINALLY not sleeping in our bed any more!  Jacob is quite the cuddler - he likes to sleep with his face planted in a pillow, with a blanked over it, or in my case, firmly planted in the base of my back or in my rib cage.  I've spent month sleeping (if you call it that) stick straight for fear that I'd roll over him in my sleep.  He's finally in his own bed and I can sleep soundly!  Thank heaven for the little things.