Wednesday, December 25, 2013

Merry Christmas!!

We hope you all are having a wonderful day with your families! We have had an eventful couple weeks around here, as usual. I will play picture catch up soon! For now, here are some pictures from our Christmas. 

 Opening their Christmas Eve present....

New Christmas jammies! :) 

Santa came!!! :) 

Waiting for everyone to come downstairs and see what Santa left!


Santa gifts were a hit! :) Kassidy got horseback riding lessons... she's so excited to try it out! 

Digging into their stockings

I think he likes it! ;)

Presents, presents, presents!








All dressed up and nowhere to go! ;) 

And now we're laying around, watching Christmas movies and waiting for lunch!! The best day, ever!!

Happy Birthday, Jesus!!!! :) 

Saturday, December 14, 2013

One Year Ago Today... We Remember

Yesterday, as I was out running errands, I caught a glimpse of a news report in a store - a shooter was in a school. Outcome unknown. That fear, that I've come to know all too well, gripped my heart. I immediately prayed for the school, for the students and staff, for the police who were responding to the situation, for the families who were just hearing that their children were in danger...

My heart has been heavy this week already with the one year anniversary of Sandy Hook fast approaching. I have done my best this past year to honor each of the children who lost their lives that day... to remember them here on my blog and in our family. Today each of those children and staff members have been running through my mind as I vowed once again to never forget them. To never forget the promises we made one year ago to cherish life and our children more and savor every moment, because we never know what the future holds.

I added Claire Davis to my prayer list today. She was critically wounded in yesterday's shooting at Arapahoe High School here in Denver and her family is reaching out to our community to pray for her healing.

I hate that this continues. I hate that there are so many mornings when I drop the kids off at school with a smile and wave goodbye from Kassidy and Kameron, or air hugs and blowing kisses from Kennedy and Keeghan through the car window and that fleeting thought goes through my head... "What if that was it?"

None of us know what the future holds. And while we cannot live in fear, I will remember those who have fallen and I will make sure that my children know they are loved and cherished with every goodbye. 

No regrets. 

Wednesday, December 11, 2013

Remembering Josephine

Today is Josephine Gay's 8th birthday. She is the last of the Sandy Hook angels to have their birthday in heaven this year. Last year, she celebrated her birthday just days before she was killed with her classmates at school... an anniversary that is just around the corner. She never even got to her party that was to be held the day after the shootings. She was so excited! The invitations had been passed out, the cupcakes with purple frosting, (Joey's favorite color) had been ordered. Instead, her parents Bob and Michele were left to plan her funeral.

Joey had Autism and didn't speak, but her parents said she brought a special light and understanding to all who knew her. Her sisters, Maria and Sophia, learned a lot about kids with special needs and have a heart for kids who may need a little extra help. Every night Michele says a special prayer over her two oldest girls and prays that Joey is watching over them.

In addition to many ongoing efforts by Bob and Michele, Joey's Fund  has been set up in Joey's memory to help other kids with special needs get the adaptive equipment they need to thrive. If you'd like to remember Joey on her birthday, this would be a great way to do so.

Happy 8th Birthday, Joey... We will never forget... 

Wednesday, November 27, 2013

Kennedy Update and Stuff

Kennedy had her eye surgery today and everything went just as expected. :) That's always nice to say! Her eyes look pretty rough right now so I'll spare you the post-op picture. She said they don't hurt but she refuses to look at them in the mirror because "they look gross and I hate it!" HA! We won't know for a few weeks (I guess?) if it's going to work or not, but I'll let you know!!

Last night we had Thanksgiving Dinner with the Kemper Dance family. It was a lot of fun to hang out (and I would say "catch up" but we see each other ALL the time! haha) and eat good food! There are some amazing cooks in our studio... my husband being one of them. ;)

Here are a couple pictures from last night and one from pre-op this morning. 

All dressed up and nowhere to go

 Baby Eli's posse! 

Keeghan chowing down!

Kass hanging out... she's the baby whisperer 

All the desserts he can eat! 

Let this be a message to kids everywhere - eat too much sugar and you get caught like THIS!

Kennedy in pre-op... she's a trooper! 

Thanks to everyone who prayed for things to go well for Kennedy today. 30th surgery - DONE! We hope you all have a VERY Happy Thanksgiving! We are going to hang out at home, watch movies, eat lots of food and just enjoy being together! 

Sunday, November 24, 2013

A Little Update

I am so sorry I have fallen behind once again. Every time I sit down to write here, something else grabs my attention and pulls me away. Things have been busy here as usual. The kids are officially on Thanksgiving break, which is nice! Sadly we're not going to have a lazy week like I had looked forward to. Kennedy has two pre-op appointments on Monday - one with her pediatrician to clear her for surgery and another with her ophthalmologist to just make sure everything is status quo. Wednesday is her surgery day. I'm not sure what time yet, I guess they'll call me the day before to let me know. Kass and Kam also have dentist appointments on Monday so it's going to be busy busy!

It has been COLD here in Colorado Springs! The kids got a two hour delay at school on Friday due to icy roads and really should have had one Thursday as well. The roads were SCARY and I never did get Kameron to school. His school is across town and up a big hill. I had visions of us sliding off the road. When I checked the news and saw how many cars actually were doing just that, I knew we made the right call. He enjoyed his two days off, and thankfully because all his assignments are online, he didn't miss much.

Kennedy and Keeghan had Thanksgiving celebrations at school on Friday. Keeghan's class did a full on feast with turkey and all the fixins ;). Kennedy's class did a pie tasting party. They had 14 different kinds of pie and LOTS of whipped cream to go around! Kennedy's favorite was the chocolate pie... the girl loves her sugar! :)


 Whipped cream - yum! LOL 

Last night Kennedy's dance studio went to a local mall and performed for the "arrival of Santa". It was fun but OH so crowded!! We were thinking we'd stay so she and Keeghan could see Santa but after we saw the line we nixed that idea. They'll have plenty of other opportunities to see him over the next month. 



About a week ago, Keeghan started taking karate classes. There is a class that meets right at his elementary school, so it's convenient and so far he loves it! He earned his white belt the first night and his instructor told him that he'd earn his black belt by the time he's 11! HA! Keeghan is counting down the days years. ;) 



Kass and Kam are doing well. They are both enjoying school (Kam more than Kass lol) and getting good grades. They are excited for Christmas and can't wait for my mom to get here. I am not even CLOSE to being done shopping for Christmas presents, but I'm getting there... slowly. 

We did family pictures a couple weeks ago. I have seen a preview but haven't seen them all yet. As soon as I get the disk, I will share, of course! Here's one of my favorites for now.



I guess that's it for now. I'll update again soon... if not before, then after Kenn's surgery for sure! 

Saturday, November 23, 2013

Remembering Noah

Yesterday was Noah Pozner's 7th birthday. Like so many others I have posted about over the last year, he spent this birthday in Heaven alongside his friends and classmates from Sandy Hook Elementary.

Noah was the youngest victim of that day... his twin sister Arielle was in the first grade classroom next door, and thankfully she survived. Noah also had two other sisters, Danielle and Sophia, a brother, Michael and his parents, Lenny and Veronique.

Noah's mother remembers her youngest son as a rambunctious little man who loved video games, the colors blue and white, and reading books. He had great aspirations for his future. He wanted to be a doctor, a soldier or a manager of a factory that makes tacos - his favorite food. Noah will always be remembered by his family and through stories from his grandmother Farine who writes about him so beautifully on her blog. He was and is so loved and cherished by all who knew him.

Happy 7th Birthday Noah, we will never forget... 


Tuesday, November 5, 2013

Kennedy update

It's been awhile since I've updated on Kennedy over here, so I thought I would do a quick one! Last week she had a couple of appointments. The first one was in Denver at Denver Children's to do some developmental testing to see if the chemotherapy she was on caused any delays in her development.

Guess what?

She's mildly delayed. 

Who knew?! LOL

On a serious note, it was helpful to get a comprehensive view of where she's at in math (her weakest area by FAR!) and get some ideas to help her understand math more. With a calculator, she can add and subtract up to 4 digit problems (and probably beyond that) and get the answer right. She's on par with her peers, actually. Without the calculator is a whole different story! But they were concerned that she's not really understanding WHAT she's doing. For example, one of the answers to a math problem was 1,011. They asked her if that was a big number or a little number and she said it was little (I'm assuming because of all the 1's) so they said it might be a good idea to go back to basic number concepts and reinforce that a bit. They said it is a concept that will come with time, but practice always helps. Which I agree with!!

She did better in reading and the lady who tested her was impressed with her sight word skills and her handwriting but she lagged on spelling which kind of made me laugh. The words they asked her to spell she absolutely knows so I'm thinking that must have been done in the afternoon when she was getting worn out (I wasn't in there with her, so I don't know for sure). She had some good ideas about reinforcing the spelling she IS doing though and I'll definitely be talking to her teacher about that.

She DID say that attention was a HUGE issue (which we already knew) and that it definitely could be caused from the chemo she was on... a large amount of kids on that same chemo ended up with ADD/ADHD. So we'll be talking with her ped about that tomorrow.

Anyway, there wasn't anything too shocking in there. Most I agreed with, some I didn't, but we absolutely agreed her attention (or lack thereof) could be skewing the results. Overall she said that Kennedy has a bright future and she'd most likely be able to hold down a job and be very independent for the most part. She stated that the general ed classroom was exactly the right place for her and she would not recommend moving her and was happy to see the supports she has in place at school. She said that hopefully this could continue as she gets into the upper grades. That would be nice! One year at a time.

She kept checking on me to make sure I was ok with Kennedy's results and I kept saying, "Yeah... she has Down syndrome. It's ok!" LOL I don't know if she expected me to be shocked that she's delayed or what. But she's usually working with typical kids so I just told her that we're pretty much "over" the whole Down syndrome thing... now 8 years ago, I probably would have burst into tears! ;) Delays are not a shock in the world of Down syndrome.

In other news, last week we also went back to the eye doctor. Kennedy has been refusing to wear her glasses lately because she says they give her headaches. She was due for a recheck anyway, so I took her in to see if her prescription changed. The ophthalmologist decided that instead of putting her through MORE glasses that may or may not help, that it's time to do eye muscle surgery. Whenever she looks at things up close, one of her eyes turns in towards her nose. It's not bad and not all the time but if she doesn't wear her glasses when she's reading and stuff, it could get bad. This is an outpatient surgery and several of my friends who have kids with Down syndrome have had this done and they said it's not difficult at all. Whew! We're having it done the day before Thanksgiving so she doesn't miss any school. They said by the following Monday when school goes back in, she should be good to go!

Anyway, I guess that's about it! Other than that she's been having pretty good days at school, she's making lots of new friends this year which is fun to see and things are moving right along. Thankful for these easy times, always! :)

Monday, November 4, 2013

Remembering Grace

Today is Grace McDonnell's 8th birthday... her first in Heaven. Grace is remembered for being a kind and gentle soul who lived life to the fullest. Her parents, Chris and Lynn say that she loved the beach, school and drawing more than anything. When she grew up she wanted to live on the beach and be a painter.

At her funeral, Grace's older brother Jack got a sharpie, and together with his family and their closest friends, they covered Grace's casket with heartfelt messages and their own artwork of things Grace loved - lighthouses, ice cream cones, peace signs and seagulls. They wanted their last memories of her to be full of life and color, just like Grace lived.

Lynn's last memories of Grace was watching her school bus pull away, heading off to Sandy Hook Elementary one Friday morning. Grace smiled and blew kisses to her mom from the window as Lynn waved goodbye. She takes comfort in knowing that Grace is up in Heaven with her friends, teacher and principal. Until they meet again, Lynn promised that she's going to take on the world for her girl - she has nothing to lose, and everything to gain...

Happy 8th Birthday, Grace! We will never forget... 

HAPPY BIRTHDAY KASSIDY!!!

Happy Birthday, Kassidy!! Today you turn 14!!

Being 14 means a lot of good things! 
Being 14 means you're still too young to drive (which is good for me, not you HA!) 
Being 14 means more babysitting jobs that pay money! Score!
Being 14 means you're almost to HIGH SCHOOL! YES! (I think that one is better for you than for me!)
Being 14 means you're a little older than you were yesterday (duh), but you'll always be my first baby, no matter how big you get.

I know it's been kind of a long year for you, and that middle school has had it's challenges, but you're in the home stretch and it is almost over! I can't promise that high school will be all that much easier, but I can promise that I'll always here for you through the good times and the bad times, no matter what.

I love hearing your stories about school, whether it's about teachers or friends or homework or what you had for lunch that day. I love hearing your totally random facts... at totally random times. ;) I love that we can laugh together and watch girly movies together and I love when you let me do your hair. I love when you help the other kids with their math homework (especially because you're better at math than I am!) and I love to hear you laugh with your siblings. I love that you have a thirst for knowledge, both academically and spiritually, and that you are surrounding yourself with people who will have a positive impact on your life. This will be even more important as you go into high school next year. 

You are an amazing young woman, Kass, with so much life and spunk and goofiness in you and I know that you are going to do great things! I can't wait to see the rest of your teen years unfold... just don't rush through them too fast, my girl. Being a grown up is not all it's cracked up to be. Promise! 

I love you to the moon and back.  

Love, 
Mom

Sunday, November 3, 2013

HAPPY BIRTHDAY KAMERON!!!

Happy birthday, Kameron... today you turn 12! Another year older, another year wiser, absolutely another year funnier (is that a word?). It's hard to believe that this is your last year before you become a teenager! It seems like just yesterday you were starting Kindergarten and now you are taking middle school by storm. I'm so proud of you for working so hard, keeping up with your studies and having fun with your friends at the same time. Speaking of friends, I am so thankful that you are surrounding yourself with a good group of kids... friends who share your sense of humor and interests, friends who build you up and don't try to bring you down. I love hearing your stories and plans to take over New York City together when you all grow up. I have no doubt you can do anything you put your mind to - and you'll accomplish it with awesomeness!

Thanks for being a great kid, Kam! Thank you for helping me out when I need it and being a good big brother (even if you DO bicker with Keeghan every now and then) ;). He and Kennedy both look up to you so much and I know they love you a lot. I am looking forward to watching you continue to grow through this next year... watching you go from a boy to a young man... and watching all the great things you will do! I'm so glad God gave me you. Life would just be so boring without you here! :)

Happy Birthday, Kam!

Love, Mom


Friday, November 1, 2013

Happy Halloween!!

Hey friends!

I am so sorry I kind of disappeared! Life has been busy!!! I will try to play catch up over the next week or so! FIRST though, let's talk Halloween! As usual the kids had a great time discussing costumes and themes and changed their minds about 1,000 times and finally settled on what they wanted to be. It actually all turned out "super" cute!! Kennedy and Keeghan had a lot of fun at their Halloween parties at school yesterday and Kass and Kam got to wear their costumes to school as well... but no parties. Middle school is such a bummer sometimes! LOL

Enjoy the pictures and I promise not to disappear again, for a little while at least! ;)


Up Close and Personal... 

My Super Heroes! 

Cat Woman

Batman

Bat Girl (you're scared, right?! LOL) 

Robin

Me with Batgirl at her school party

Me with Robin at his school party

Halloween Memories... through the years...

Beautiful Kassidy

Awesome Kameron

Princess Kennedy

Silly Keeghan

The whole gang... What will next year's theme be?! Only time will tell!!!

More soon!!!