Those Moments That Break Your Heart

A few weeks ago I had one of those moments, the kind that breaks your heart.  There you are going about your business, aware that your child has special needs but not thinking about it constantly.  Then WHAM! it happens again, you are reminded and it hurts.

We have season passes to the local amusement park.  Owen really enjoys himself there, they have a great kids water park and so many other fun things for him to do.  Sometimes the park has “bring a buddy” days when season pass holders can bring a friend for free.  We had talked bout meeting Owen’s cousins there for a day all summer long and we finally found a weekend that worked for everyone.  We were all so excited to share one of our favorite places with some of our favorite people.

We have season passes to the local amusement park.  Owen really enjoys himself there, they have a great kids water park and so many other fun things for him to do.  Sometimes the park has “bring a buddy” days when season pass holders can bring a friend for free.  We had talked bout meeting Owen’s cousins there for a day all summer long and we finally found a weekend that worked for everyone.  We were all so excited to share one of our favorite places with some of our favorite people.

As I drove, Nick started to tell a joke that went something like this…

“Knock, Knock.”

“Who’s There.”

“Knock, Knock.”

“Who’s There.”

“Knock, Knock.”

After several rounds of this Calleigh announces, not this joke again!  But Nick promises it gets funnier.  So it keeps going for a little while.  As far as I could tell, the point of the joke was to see how long he could keep her saying, “Who’s there?”

Finally, I simply couldn’t take it anymore.  No one seemed to think this was funny except for Nick, and Owen.  It’s impossible to say if Owen really found the “joke” funny or if he was just that happy to be sitting in the car with his cousins.  Now this next part sounds kind of mean but in my defense this is how this side of the family talks to each other…  I turn around and tell Nick that this joke makes me feel a little happy that Owen doesn’t talk yet.  Nick takes it in stride and tells me that the real problem isn’t if Owen learns to talk, it is when he has someone else to talk to.  I can see his point since I am pretty sure the joke wouldn’t have gone on nearly as long if Calleigh wasn’t there to torture.

Now is when I make my mistake, after a pause I say, “Well, he does have Gabe (his cousin that lives nearby) and he talks A LOT.”

Nick laughs.

Calleigh pauses, mulling this over, then with a very perplexed look on her face says, “Wait…  isn’t Owen older than Gabe?”

WHAM!  There it is, the moment.  I know Gabe is 2 years younger than Owen.  I know he has passed Owen up in speech and in some other areas too.  Some days I hurt so deeply over this, other days I don’t think much about it.  It is what it is.  I can’t change it.  It doesn’t make me love Owen less, or Gabe for that matter.  It is just the way it is and most of the time I don’t think about it.

Initially I just said, “Yes sweetie, he is.”  But I knew that didn’t clear things up for her, I knew she was still confused.

I try to walk this thin line.  I want Owen to know his 18q- is something we are not ashamed of.  We are so proud of him and missing a little part of that 18th chromosome is part of who he is.  That is fine with us.  But I also don’t want him to grow up hearing us always apologizing for the things he is a bit slower on.  If he hears us constantly telling people what he can’t do and why then he will learn that he is less than other people and he certainly is not.

Finally I just said, “You know some people just take longer to learn things than others.  Owen is still learning how to talk and even though he is older than Gabe it is just taking him some more time.  Everyone learns things at their own pace.”

She seemed satisfied with that and Nick followed up with, “Yeah, some people can’t whistle as good as others and that is NO REASON to make them feel bad.”  I sensed this might be a personal struggle of his and it made me giggle.  Mostly though I was very happy that he took the focus off of Owen.

I am pretty sure that Calleigh forgot all about this by the time we got out of the car and headed in to the park.  It stayed with me all day.  It was really painful to be reminded of Owen being different.  And I was mad at myself because it was my fault it happened in the first place.

When we finally got home and I shared what happened with Justin I was still rather upset.  Not at Calleigh, or anyone for that matter, just sad.  Then, because he is wise he pointed out that as far as she is concerned Owen is perfect and it never occurred to her that maybe he is different or not exactly as he should be.  I guess I can’t blame her for seeing him exactly the same way I do.

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Always sneaking in Physical Therapy when we can =)
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The cousins
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Happy Anniversary!

Today is our 12th wedding anniversary. I have heard the saying that when you are a parent the days are long and the years are short. The same could be said for marriage. I truly can’t believe that it has been 12 years since two naive 24 year olds declared to love one another for better or worse until death. Wow. It is a bigger promise than most can comprehend when they make it.

On your wedding day, you rarely know what the future holds. On that day, 12 years ago, we were so young, though it didn’t seem like it at the time. If I had known what the our future would look like would I still marry the same person. Yes. I would do it all over again. With that said, I must admit, I didn’t expect to be the parent of a special needs child. I certainly wouldn’t have asked for it. But I wouldn’t trade Owen for the world.

Few things are more frightening than the day you get a diagnosis for your child that says their life is going to be different from the typical life. Some people learn about it when they are expecting, and some, like us, only learn about it months after they take home their child, a child they had every reason to believe was perfectly “healthy”.

The day we got Owen’s diagnosis was scary and unexpected. We were sent home with paperwork explaining what 18q- was and what we could expect. Though the information was pretty confusing because as far as genetic disorders go, Owen’s is pretty variable in outcomes. I felt afraid, and disoriented like a rug had been yanked out from under me. We didn’t have any prenatal testing, and I am glad we didn’t because it wouldn’t have changed anything. We would have had Owen regardless, but it would have ruined what was a very exciting time for us, expecting our first child.

I would like to let you in on a little secret. One thing, no matter how detailed and informative any pamphlet is that is given to parents receiving a diagnosis of special needs for their child, it can never tell them the sheer joy that child will bring them. The pride they will experience when their child accomplishes any task that comes so much more easily to his typical peers is something I can’t fully describe. That moment when for the first time their child signs, “I love you” is priceless. I can only imagine the feeling when he actually speaks those words!

I have tried to express these things to my friends and family. Many have been offended by the idea that a parent of a child with special needs might be more proud of their child. I can understand that would be hurtful but I also don’t think it is easy to comprehend until you spend hundreds of hours in therapy to get your child to walk or talk or hold a pencil. I have some friends who have typical children as well as special needs children and a few have confessed that yes, in fact, they are more proud when the special kiddos reach milestones.

So, while our marriage and parenting don’t look quite how I expected all those years ago, I would do it all over again, in a heartbeat. On your wedding day you think of all those good times, buying your first house, having your first child, promotions, romantic weekends, you don’t focus on the tough times. I think that marriages are truly forged in the tough times, those moments that stretch you each as individuals and draw you closer together. In these last 4 years, watching my husband grow as a father and a man, I have never loved him more. Happy Anniversary, and here’s to many more!

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Check it out everyone, a rare Mommy sighting in FRONT of the camera… Maybe later we will run into Bigfoot.

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Swimming, the new romantic night out =).

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Back When I Knew it All…

I think I have been feeling a little overly sensitive lately. It seems that almost anytime I log onto my computer and hop on Facebook for a quick check in with friends I end up feeling picked on. The thing is, I know it isn’t personal. I also know that most people have no idea things they are sharing and posting just might be cutting into me. I am also aware that there are times when I am the one saying something that is hurting another and for that I am sorry.

I have a question for all of my friends who are parents. Do you remember back before you had kids? Do you remember feeling like you had it all figured out, that you knew the kind of parent you were going to be and that you were certainly NOT going to make the mistakes you saw your friends and family making? I sure do. Do you wish you could go back in time and slap your pre-parent self and tell her to shut up. A million times YES!

Now, if you are a special needs parent I have a question for you. Maybe just maybe, would you like to go back in time and slap the person you were before your special needs child came along? I am speculating because I was plunged into the experience of parenting and special needs parenting all in one fell swoop. I didn’t get to ease into parenting with a typical child and then get the challenge of a special needs child I was smacked with it all at once.

My point is there is a gap between non parents and parents… the one where you know everything and you could do it better if you were the parent. Well, I think there is also a gap between parents of typical kids and special needs parents. It is very similar to the other but a little different. Your friends of typical kids think they can understand because after all, they ARE parents, how different can it be? There is this idea that there are universal truths (though what feels universal to you or your group MAY NOT be as universal as you think). My parent friends have a way of suggesting things that they think are helpful, they just don’t understand. “What’s that you say? We should just drive at night for our trip while our kiddo sleeps in the car… gosh, I have never thought of that!”

I would like to share with you a couple of examples that have been enough to send me to the comments section on Facebook to start typing my rant in response to some meme, blog post, or Ecard only to quickly delete before posting. I don’t have particular links for these because frankly, we have all read these posts in multiple places from multiple sources and either nodded our heads, smiling smugly to ourselves about HOW FREAKING RIGHT this is or gritted our teeth thinking, “I WISH I had the luxury of feeling so sure about this.”

I started seeing the posts pretty early in my parenthood experience, probably before I was a parent too but I didn’t click on every link back then because I didn’t care. The blog posts that praise the benefits of letting your child be independent, mocking the helicopter parent as one who is stunting the growth of their child and raising a person who is going to be insecure, afraid, and incapable in the real world. Of course it isn’t enough to just repost, the friend must also write something like, “This is why I let my children play at the playground by themselves! Don’t assume I am not paying attention, I am just letting them grow into wonderful independent human beings!”

I would like to just preface this by saying that Alternate Universe Me, the one with a typical child that sleeps through the night would agree with this. In theory it all sounds great. Who doesn’t want an independent well adjusted child? I know I do.

While these parents are going on about not assuming they aren’t watching because they aren’t hovering is it even occurring to them that I may be hovering because I don’t have a choice? Don’t you think I would rather go to the park and hang out with you on the bench in the shade sipping Starbucks and chatting than going back up those steps and wrecking my hair going down that static electricity inducing slide which, by the way, was not designed for these hips of mine? Don’t you think I would rather stand back and watch Owen make friends than to push him on the swing for 20 minutes only to take him off suggesting we do something else to have him move to the one right next to it because no swing should be left un-swung?

How do you think it feels to watch your strong, independent children, brush past my son, dismissing him because he needs his mommy as they run up those steps? Finally, at almost 4 years old, I think Owen might be able to do those steps without me, but then what happens when he gets to the top and is too afraid to go down the slide? One too many times I have been standing right next to him as a child has shoved past him to go because Owen waited one second too long. I was right there. What would happen if I wasn’t standing there? He could tumble back down those steps or be shoved down the slide by a child who just doesn’t understand he isn’t the same as them. He looks old enough not to be afraid of that slide, he looks big enough to handle it.

So while you don’t want me to assume you aren’t paying attention to your child because you aren’t hovering, please don’t assume I am there out of some desire to be over protective. Don’t assume because he looks just like your 4 year old that he is. Don’t decide that I am holding my child back. And if I am… well, I have my husband to push me out of my comfort zone and to test Owen’s limits.

Another post I see at least weekly (and often posted by the same parents raising those independent kiddos) is the “Why I don’t let my kids use technology” treatise. Once again, this isn’t something I specifically disagree with, in theory. We should all strive to limit our kids consumption of screen time. It is the tone that bothers me, the belief that parents allow devices to “babysit” their children so they don’t have to be bothered.

One too many times I have been sitting in a group of people that I might not know terribly well and somehow the subject comes up… How sad it is that parents will put an iPad in front of their kids at a restaurant or that the parents are at the amusement parks on their phones. It may look like I am spending too much time on my phone but I am really excitedly filming Owen on his first entirely solo ride (the mini Ferris Wheel) and then posting it to Facebook to share with all our friends. I am not ignoring my child, I am so overcome with pride that it simply can’t wait.

Restaurants can be stressful for any family of young kids but for special needs kids it can be even more difficult. If it is loud and crowded that can be enough to set Owen into a crying fit. Often times he wants to cruise around and check everything out, particularly that cool swinging door that the wait staff keeps going into. If there are two of us, we indulge Owen’s desire to explore while we wait for the food to come. At some point though, everyone needs to eat, eventually, the iPad comes out. And somewhere deep down, I know that there is at least one person looking over at my kid “zoned out” staring at a screen and they are inwardly shaking their head at me. If you have never dealt with sensory issues, then you can’t even begin to understand how technology can be a life line in these situations.

Please, please, please, don’t post links in the comments about how screen time before the age of two or five or teenage years can stunt your child’s intelligence. Believe me, I have read these and it just causes me worry. I spent plenty of time shaking my head and pursing my lips at parents who used technology to get through a meal with their kids… even when Owen was a baby. Believe me, I get it.

The part that really bothers me is the misconception that parents would rather put an iPad in front of their kid instead of talking to them. People, I have a non verbal, almost 4 year old. I would give ANYTHING to have a conversation with him while we eat our lunch. Even if it meant we spent the whole meal talking about The Wiggles! I would give up our iPad, iPhones, television, my laptop, just about anything for that.

I talk to Owen all the time. Even though he can’t talk back it is important to participate in “conversations” with him. We “talk” in the car, sometimes me just asking about his day and leaving time for a “response”, sometimes he makes his happy noises and grunts and I grunt back (talking in his language). As we shop I point out things asking what we should have for dinner or which color shirt he likes better. Somehow though, I am guessing as you sit in the restaurant with your family, judging me for letting my kid play on the iPad, you would rather not hear my soliloquy on what I should make for dinner tonight.

Finally, and this is the one that makes me fear I am being too sensitive, are the posts about Pinterest worthy parties and classroom treats. “Can we just stop they ask, can we just not make so much out of these birthday parties and holidays they say”. To that I say, by all means, if throwing parties isn’t your thing, then don’t stress over it. However, don’t assume I go overboard on Owen’s parties because I am somehow competing or trying to show anyone up. I do it because I enjoy it. If someone doesn’t enjoy party planning then call up Chuck E Cheese or just grab some balloons and a cake at the grocery store. I won’t judge. If you choose a cake with whipped cream icing instead of buttercream, I might pout but I won’t judge.

I enjoy being creative and using my hands to make things for those I love. I am trained as an Interior Designer but my days are spent going to therapy sessions and doing joint compressions and making sure Owen wears his weighted vest. Every once in a while I get the chance to spend too much time and too much money planning a party and I have so much fun! Don’t take that away from me. It is how I show my love.

As I was chatting with my friend (and non mom) about these things and how overwhelming it can feel to be under constant judgment she looked at me and said, “Can we just all stop telling each other what to do?” And I thought, she will make a great mom some day. I am so blessed to have such a wise friend.

We all parent the children we are given. Yes, there are bad parents out there who just don’t care but for the most part I pray that everyone is doing the best to love and care for the children they are given. When I spend time with my nephew, a typically developing soon to be 2 year old, I react to the person he is, not the parent I have become as Owen’s mommy. I give Gabe more space to explore and investigate, I back off. I hope if I am blessed enough to have another child I will recognize who that unique child is and parent him or her appropriately. Please allow me to parent the child God entrusted to me and believe that I am equipped to do that, helicopter parenting, iPads, and Pinterest parties included.

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The Graduate

Last week Owen finished his first year of preschool, complete with a ceremony and picnic after the big event.  I will confess that before becoming a parent I considered preschool graduation sort of a non-achievement.  I know that sounds mean but there are ceremonies at the end of every year of preschool, Kindergarten, middle school etc.  It just seems like so much celebrating of milestones that are just part of life.  Chalk that up to one of those things I was ever so smart about in my pre-kids life.  I was wrong.

We stressed and worried so about sending Owen to preschool.  I felt he wasn’t ready, he was too young and too far behind his peers.  There was a choice in the matter, we didn’t have to do it, but to get his services outside of school we would have needed to drive him.  Now that wasn’t an issue so much but we both had to admit that our boy was craving time with other children his age.  I can be many things, but I simply can not, no matter how hard I try, be a three year old.

In the end we sent Owen to an integrated classroom with special needs students and typically developing children.  We hoped that Owen would learn from being around children his own age who are “where they should be.”  We also think that typical children benefit from being around special needs kids.  They can learn so much about patience, acceptance, kindness, and unconditional caring.

Of course we continued to worry that we may have made the wrong choice but as the year went on I felt more and more confident that we had him in the right place. Most days when I picked him up from school I was greeted by one of the teachers or an aid eager to share with me some accomplishment or story about Owen.  It meant so much to me as his Momma and helped ease the transition for me from being with him all day every day to sharing him with others.  Many days I could smell the perfume of another woman on his hair and I knew that at some point in the day, when he needed a snuggle, one was given.  This alone has been such a huge comfort to me.

Owen has grown so very much over the last few months.  We can see his attempts at independence as he becomes a more confident little person.  There are little things like grabbing the railing when we approach steps instead of reaching for us to carry him.  There are big things like going to the refrigerator and pointing to a picture that says “eat” or “drink” instead of bursting into tears while we attempt to figure out what we can do to help him.  Preschool has been good for him.

Last week as the big day approached, my stress level was through the roof.  I worried constantly that he would be overwhelmed, he might cry, he most certainly would run to us the second he realized we were there.  I could hardly sleep.

I was told time and again by well meaning friends and family that no matter what happened everyone would be proud of Owen.  I know that. But as a special needs parent we miss out on SO MUCH.  Many times it is little things like class picture day (which feels huge at the time), sometimes it is big things like missing a dear friend’s wedding because you just can’t drag your child several states away knowing he will lose it at the reception anyway.  My worry was not for everyone else or how they might see Owen if he couldn’t handle graduation, it was for me.  I wanted just this one time to be allowed to do what every other parent gets to do.  I wanted to sit in the crowd, snap photos, and glow with pride.

I am not sure if Owen understood the magnitude of this day for me.  All I know is he could not have made his Daddy and me more proud.  He got in line with all his classmates to receive his diploma and stood patiently for the crazy camera lady me to take photos.

The moment I will never forget though was when all the children presented the book they worked on for graduation.  They had read “A Dragon on My Doorstep” in class.  His teacher explained the story was about some children who found a dragon and they had to hide him, then other animals kept showing up and they needed to hide them too.  Each child in the class created their own page for the story in which they chose an animal and where to hide him.

A few weeks ago Owen’s teacher was explaining to me that he typed his page for the book they were working on.  I wasn’t really sure what that meant at the time but she said he knows his letter sounds and likes the computer so she let him type.  He needs maximum help with writing so I was pleased they took the time to recognize his strengths.

As each child stepped forward they held up a picture they drew and read aloud.  It made me very sad but it was such a sweet idea that I couldn’t begrudge the other parents enjoying this moment.  Then up walks Owen holding his page.  His teacher holds out his speech device and I hear, “It’s a bird.  Let’s put him in bed!”  Tears rolled down my face as I snapped photos.  This was the moment of the day, not the little diploma.  My boy was given a voice.  I can promise you, there was not a single parent there more proud than I was in that moment.

Four years ago I was still waiting to meet this little person.  I dreamed of who he would be, what he would look like, would he be smart, creative, tall, athletic?  Somehow, in my mind nonverbal wasn’t an option.  If someone had told me, “On May 29th 2014 your little boy will be graduating preschool and he will be the only one in his class who doesn’t speak.”  I don’t know how I would have handled that.  I know I would have found it profoundly sad.  I might have begged for it not to be true.  But not now.  Now I couldn’t be more proud of my boy and all he has accomplished.

Kiddo, you are going places and I am so blessed to be along for the journey!

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Walking in for the ceremony.

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Getting his diploma.  Look how proud he looks!

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Showing off his book page.

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“Reading” his page for us.

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No one was more excited about graduation day than Gabe!

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Frame a Day 7/14 through 7/23

Can I just say that taking a photo every single day is hard.  Sometimes I totally forget and I am scrambling, some days I just can’t seem to get a good photo and the one I post is just there as a technicality (and I find that disappointing), and some days I frankly don’t feel like it.  But I know in the end I will be glad I took the time to do this little project.

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We had so much fun on this day.  Owen’s cousin Gabe came over and they hung out in the kiddy pool together.  Owen was so sweet and gentle with his baby cousin it made me so proud.

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This is what I came home to on Monday, I hate it when my boy falls asleep and I don’t get to say goodnight.

I spent Monday evening taking photos at a camp for special needs children.  It was such a great experience and I was honored to be there volunteering my time.  I felt so happy and had such a good time.  I am tremendously thankful for Owen because he has shown me that special needs kids are just like everyone else.  They wanted to pose for the camera, be silly, and have fun.  Boy did they ever!

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Owen made me just glow with pride on Tuesday.  As we sat sharing his snack at the kitchen table he signed “more” between each bite and then, without being prompted, surprised me by using his voice and saying “more!”  Or a pretty close approximation of more.  I can’t even express how huge this is.

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On Wednesday we had a play date with a couple of little boys.  It was so much fun, even though we Mommas were too busy to really chat.  One of the little boys came around the table and roared, Owen made a roaring noise back!  It made my Mommy’s heart sing.

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Owen spent a good hour looking through one of my decorating magazines.  It was so adorable.  He took such good care not to rip the pages, this isn’t always the case.

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Today we were watching television.  One of Owen’s favorite shows is Super Why.  One of the characters was spelling a word and asked, “What sound does H make?”  Without missing a beat I heard Owen saying, “Haaa, haaa.”  He is really starting to learn those letters!

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Owen’s little cousin was with us over the weekend while his Daddy was laying new flooring at their house.  My boy was such an awesome big cousin.  At one point when Gabe started to cry Owen went running into the spare bedroom to check on him.  I love that my boy has such a caring heart.

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Owen is getting to be such a little helper lately.  We were sitting at the table enjoying a snack of Cheerios.  When he was finished eating he put the lid back on the container, picked it up in both hands and scooted out of his chair.  He ran to the refrigerator and tapped the handle.  I really had no idea what he had in mind but I opened the door and he placed the bowl on the shelf, closed the door, clapped his hands (because he was quite proud) and ran off.  I haven’t taught him this, he must be paying close attention when I clean up after meals!

We also visited with Owen’s Great Grandma today and he was so content to sit on her lap and read with her.  I know how happy this made her and I was so proud of Owen for being such a sweetie.

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We had Owen’s three year check up on Monday.  My little boy was born on the smaller side.  I believe it was 12th percentile.  In a matter of days he fell off the growth chart altogether.  It took us nearly 17 months of hard work and so much stress before he was back on the chart.  I can still remember the doctor walking into the exam room, smiling from ear to ear.  He couldn’t wait to tell my that Owen was on the chart…  at a whopping 4%.  We hung that report on the fridge for at least a year.  I was so proud.  Well at this appointment our boy was 40% for height and 76% for weight!  I nearly burst with pride.

The Dr. was also impressed with Owen’s curiosity.  He looked through every single door and drawer in that room.

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Today was the first time in two weeks I felt comfortable going for a run.  I had a terrible cold and it really took me out.  So after dinner I put on my running shoes and we loaded Owen in the car and headed to a nearby trail.  There is a short loop on the trail towards the end and I ran it 3 times to finish up my run.  Justin and Owen were walking the opposite direction I was running.  As I passed by each time I would see Owen coming towards me with a huge smile on his face, with his hands over his eyes (I have no idea why he does this).  It was so adorable and sweet.  I felt so motivated to keep running because I knew on the next lap he would be there, so happy to see me.  Each time I had to stop momentarily for a hug.  How could anyone just go running past that?

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A Week of Photos

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On Monday we met up with Justin’s family from out-of-town.  Owen loves his cousins so much and was thrilled to see them.  You would never know he had just gotten to visit with them on Saturday!

His cousin had ordered before we arrived and Owen saw his fries right away.  Instead of pulling his usual trick of melting to the floor and crying when he wants something, he cozied up really close to Nick and gave him the sweetest look, just begging to share.  It was adorable.

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On Tuesday Owen learned the sign for Lion.  As usual, when a sign has little usefulness in everyday life, he picked it up right away.

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Owen’s sitter took this photo on Wednesday…  it isn’t cheating if I use photos other people took right?  When it was time for me to leave he made me so proud.  He usually cries when I have to leave but instead he waited until I was outside and he knocked on the window to blow me kisses.  Melt. My. Heart.

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My boy is getting so independent.  Because he is non-verbal he often cries when he wants something and there is a mystery trying to figure out what set him off.  Lately though, when he is hungry he goes into the kitchen and pulls out the chair at the table.  Then we sit down and have a snack together.  You can’t imagine how much easier this has made my days.  My boy is so smart!

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On Friday Mommy and Daddy were both sick.  Owen was such a big boy and entertained himself so well.  He did make a mess but I forgave him.

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Today while Mommy was still recovering from not feeling well Daddy took Owen to the park.  He was so excited to see his little cousin and was a super awesome big cousin.  When they got home Justin couldn’t wait to tell me how Owen got in front of Gabe’s stroller and pulled on the tray until he had gotten him as close as possible.  He was so very happy to see his cousin.

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And here is your bonus frame.  I just think you had to see how sweet these two are together.

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Take Two

Today is day two of my frame a day challenge.  I can already tell that it won’t be easy to take a photo each day for a year.  Life just happens and it isn’t always on my mind.  I do think it will be a worthwhile journey and in the end I will be pleased that we did it.

I have another goal in the challenge, I am trying to get in front of the camera.  I am almost always behind the camera.  It is a combination of things, Owen just loves his daddy so much that I am the one capturing our adventures.  I am also just such a perfectionist that when I do hand the camera over to Justin, it doesn’t last long before I go and grab it back and start snapping away again.

I started to read a wonderful heartbreaking blog, Chasing Rainbows, a few months ago.  The author’s sweet little boy died and I just can’t stop reading about him.  He was (no, is!) such a special person and I feel honored to have the opportunity to learn about his amazing life.  Trust me, the world is a better place because Gavin was here.  One thing I noticed is that Kate made an effort to be in photos with her boy.  They must be such a treasure to her now.  If, heaven forbid, anything should happen to either of us, I want there to be photos of me and my boy together.  More photos than the ones we have taken every year around his birthday and at Christmas.  Sadly that will often mean self portraits taken on my iPhone, which aren’t the most flattering angle for me.  But this isn’t about looking my “beautiful best”.  This is about being present with Owen and recording those everyday moments.

7-7-2013

Owen loves the self portraits.  What is more fun than seeing yourself in the phone?  Pretty much nothing!

And what did Owen do today to make me proud?  Well, lots.  I am pretty proud of him most of the time.  Not when he cries when we make him come inside from the swing set… but the rest of the time, bursting with pride.  But one particular moment stands out for me as the highlight of my day.

Tonight I went for a run.  My guys drove down to the local school to hang out at the playground and I left the house on foot and met them there at the end of my run.  When I came around the school, Owen started blowing me kisses, which is so adorable and then he signed Mommy over and over.  It made my heart smile.  One day I know he will say Mommy to me and I can’t wait to hear his sweet little voice but until then having my darling boy blowing me kisses and excitedly placing his hand on his chin when he sees me, basically yelling in sign language, “Mommy, Mommy, Mommy!” is pretty darn special.

Love that boy!

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