Monday, December 31, 2012

The Blessings of 2012

As I look back at 2012, I feel the many ways our family was blessed.  Hopefully each of can look back and find some blessings as well.  Here are a few of ours:
            1. All 5 of us made it through the year with out any major illnesses or hospital visits.  (OK    technically we made one ER visit, but the issue resolved itself before we were actually admitted, so it should not really count)
            2.  Ben is mostly potty trained.  He spends his days in underwear, with very few accidents.  Nights are still a challenge, but I am hoping by next year he will have made significant progress.
            3.  This was the first year that I was a stay at home mom for the entire year.  While I did not get as much accomplished on the home front, I did accomplish a few things that I am proud of, like: rebuilding the DSAF of NE website, being a co-chair and the web chair for the Step Up for Down Syndrome Walk, continuing to volunteer as the communication director of the DSAF of NE, getting a head start on my new business ABC Signing Kids, building a website for ABC Signing Kids, signed up to be a substitute aid at school, taught knitting in 4-h and kept the blog up.  
            4.  All three boys are doing well in school.  John has been on the honor roll every semester except one.  (he missed it by .01% )   Noah is keeping his grades up even though he has a very demanding schedule of his own practices and games, and also attending his brothers events.  His grades dipped for a short while, but he knew what he had to do, and worked hard to bring them back up.  Ben loves school and is doing awesome.   While he still has challenges with speech and fine motor skills (writing), he is doing great in reading and was tested as reading at a 1st grade level.  We are extra blessed to have a great team at school which is really helping him to excel. 
             5.  All three boys enjoy sports.  We are blessed that both John and Noah are athletic and get to play a lot in their favorite sports.   I also think they are fortunate to be able to experience both winning and losing, so they can learn good sportsmanship.   Ben participated in Special Olympics Young Athletes and was much better at following directions.  He is also learning lots from attending his older brothers games and likes to pretend he is a referee or umpire at the games.
            6.  I had lots of time to take photos and 2 pictures of Ben were included in the new addition of Early Communication Skills for Children with Down Syndrome.  A photo of Ben was also chosen to be displayed in the National Buddy Walk video and was shown on one of the big screens in the heart of Time Square
            7.  Due to the photo being selected for the video, we were lucky to have Cindy Lange-Kubick from the Lincoln Journal Star come out to our house and do a lovely article about the blessing Ben is to our family.
             8.We have an awesome support system of family and friends who are there for us when we need them.  They helped us to have an awesome turnout for Ben's Brigade at the Step Up for Down Syndrome walk and help us to raise over $2000.  We also had great support  at at our first ever fundraising event for Ben's Brigade where we had a few items for sale at the Murdock 4th of July parade.  It was so much fun, we might even do it again next year.
            9. We were fortunate, that even though we are new a one income family, we still were able to support our church and many of our favorite charities. 
            10.  Finally, we are fortunate that we have each other.  Our family is not perfect.  We do not always get along (John and Noah).  But underneath it all is love, and because of that, we are blessed.

Here is hoping that you too can look back at 2012 and see many blessings,
 and hope each of you find many new blessings in 2013!

Friday, December 21, 2012

Merry Christmas and Happy New Year!

The day after Noah and I put up the ouside Christmas lights, Ben was sitting on the potty.  He look up at the window and with wonder and amazement in his voice he said "WOW!" as he pointed at the Christmas lights.  He said it again when he saw the Christmas tree light up, and again when he saw Grandma's Christmas lights.  

Wishing you and your families a Holiday Season is filled with lots of "WOW!" too.

Friday, December 7, 2012

A Hard Lesson to Learn

Our oldest son leaned a very important lesson this week.  While shopping at Target, he was pushing Ben in the cart and they were playing.  John playfully said "Shut your face" and Ben happily repeated it.  So they were walking down the isle saying to each other.  We told John to stop immediately as that is not something appropriate for 4 year olds (or 13 year olds) to say, but he simply walked ahead of us and kept talking quietly to Ben. 

Once in the car Ben repeated it a couple time.  Randy and I gave John the I told you so speech, that you can not say things in front of Ben that are not appropriate, because he will repeat them and this is what happens.  We told him that for every time Ben repeated it, John would lose a day on his PS3. 

I think Ben understood exactly what I said, because just then he started to repeat it over, and over, and over and over again.  Around 200 times of repeating it, John started to get mad at him.  It was time for another I told you so moment. But after a bit it just started getting funny. Ben was saying it with the exact same inflection that John had used.   It was all I could do not to laugh every time he said it.  Luckily I was in the seat directly in front of Ben in the car, so he could not see me smiling, but John could see me and was getting very upset. 

Part of me is very proud of Ben as he is making great improvements in speech.  Reading is helping and so is his willingness to repeat what we say.  He will repeat just about everything and he was making a great f sound when he said face.  

Unfortunately we were an hour away from home and it was going to be a long drive.  About half way home we switched it to an hour of PS3 time lost for each occurrence.  I never thought it would get that far when I first laid out the punishment.  However now that he has lost it for over 600 hours, it will still be a long time before John gets to play his new game. 

We finally talked the boys into "teaching" Ben a more appropriate phrase, so every time he started to say "Shut your face" , they would both shout "knee"  I am not sure why they chose that, but it finally worked. 
Maybe next time John will listen when we tell him to not say inappropriate things to his little brother......but I doubt it.