Kindergarten 2016

9/20/2016

On the 29th of August, Ledger started Kindergarten! I’ve been a little nervous, mainly because he’s young for his grade which caused us to go back and forth on whether or not to send him. But after a lot of prayer and talking it over with his preschool teacher, we felt he was ready.

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(I love these pictures, you can see he’s a little bit nervous)

The night before Ledger was giddy, he could hardly contain his excitement while he laid out his new school clothes. Pat gave him a father’s blessing, and ran straight to bed!

Ledge was assigned morning kindergarten which I’m so happy about. He starts at 8:45, so we have plenty of time in the mornings. But I can’t believe how fast half day kinder goes by!

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Though Ledger said he wasn’t nervous, he was a ball of nerves that morning! His brothers kept setting him off, and he had a little meltdown when it came to his pants, but once I sat down and talked to him and he learned how short 2 1/2 hours really was, he brightened right up. He told me he didn’t want to be away from us all day long.

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We walked him down to the school, he quickly jumped in line with the rest of his class and blew me a kiss and waved as he marched right into his class room. No tears from either of us. But on the way home, I couldn’t help but say a little prayer of gratitude. After grieving the fist day of school for the past couple of years, I was beyond grateful to be sending my child to school. And though I would have loved to have an older sister there with him, the good definitely outweighed the bad that day. God is good.

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Cruiz cried when we said goodbye to Ledger :)

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I took the boys to Arctic Circle (Ledger’s request) after we picked up Ledge to celebrate, and it made for a fun first day.

During the first week I asked Ledger what his favorite and least favorite part of the day was. It was the same all week.

Favorite: Show and Tell
Least favorite: Sitting on the mat ALL DAY LONG. He tends to struggle sitting still. :)

I’m not sure how long little boys adore their momma, so I’m trying to soak up every minute of it. I love how excited Ledger is to see me when I pick him up after school. I always get the biggest hugs after he sprints to me.

We love ya buddy, and after watching all that you’ve accomplished in just a few short weeks, we can’t wait to see what you do with the rest of your school year!

31 Weeks!

9/06/2016

I honestly can’t believe I have less than 10 weeks to go in my very last pregnancy! The latest I’ve ever made it to is 38 weeks, so maybe only 7 more weeks?

We’ve had an eventful summer which has kept us busy and helped me forget (at times) that I am expecting. This has been by far my best pregnancy, which I’m certainly grateful for. In the past, I’ve always had 5+ kidney stones each pregnancy, but this time around, I’ve only had one. A lot of symptoms I have related to pregnancy turn out to actually be related to kidney stones. So if you get kidney stones, start taking magnesium, it will literally change your life :)

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At 28 weeks I passed my glucose test! (Hallelujah!) I failed with the twins, so I was worried, but my doctor has been monitoring me from the beginning, and felt I would be just fine. Gestational diabetes is much more common while carrying twins. I’m so glad I can continue to eat cereal :)

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I also learned I was anemic, and after taking an iron supplement each day, I can’t believe how much energy I have now! I can somewhat keep up with my boys again.

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Just like my other pregnancies, I carry straight out. But following a twin pregnancy, I seriously look like I’m already 40 weeks pregnant. Confession: sometimes I stretch the truth about my due date, just to avoid the “Oh my goodness! You look like you are already going to pop! You must be due any day right?” conversation. I’ve had multiple people gasp when I turn around in a store, and they exclaim, “I couldn’t tell you were pregnant from behind, but you must be due any day!” But at each appointment I’m measuring right on, and she looks great.

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(Ledger snapped this picture while I was sitting with the twins in timeout. This is Cannon’s preferred resting place)

The last couple of weeks we moved the twins out of their room and I’ve been working on decorating for a girl. I repainted our crib and dresser white (I should have painted earlier on to save my back!) and can’t even begin to explain how fun it is to walk by and see the color pink in our house again. My heart is full, and cannot wait to meet this little girl. Now, all we need is to figure out a name. Any suggestions? This is by far the most we’ve ever struggled!

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We can’t wait to meet this little girl, end of Oct/Nov can’t come soon enough!

We Can Do Hard Things: Angee Duvall-Death-Sibling

8/11/2016

 

Meet Angee. 

Angee is the oldest (and only girl) of four children. She is now a wife and a mother of three darling kids. She lost her baby brother, Aaron, in infancy, when she was just 9-years-old. Her family was surprised by his passing after he was born with complications too extreme to survive. Aaron only lived two short days.

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Q: As a child, do you remember any acts of kindness that made an impact during that difficult time?

I remember spending quite a bit of time at a few houses of close friends and how they just tried to let us experience a normal, happy childhood in that moment. It allowed us a few hours away from the sadness to simply forget the heaviness that was going on in our home. Those are the happy memories I have of that time. I don’t remember any child reaching out to me specifically, just those families who offered support by being our home away from home, but without intruding on the space we needed as a family to grieve.

I think it’s also important to remember that everyone grieves differently and that we need to accept how people grieve, even if it’s different than us. Each member of my family has dealt with Aaron’s loss differently and continues to do so, and that’s okay. For example, one of my brothers, who was in kindergarten at the time, didn’t cry during this time. He seemed to not understand what was going on. But, a couple of years later, he ended up with a reading disability that they were certain was due to the loss. The counselors at the school worked through the grief process with him, including bringing in a cupcake on Aaron’s birthday so this brother could celebrate. Once my brother worked through the grief, he excelled at school and no longer struggled in reading!

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(Angee, and her siblings)

Q: I hear many times, “Oh they are so little, they’ll bounce right back.” How has the death of your brother affected you throughout your life?

I’ve been surprised how the grief has continued into adulthood. It has been 27 years, and although I’ve accepted it and even embraced it, there are times that I still struggle.

When I started having children of my own, I had a fear that I would lose one of my babies like my mom did. Although Aaron’s death was a fluke and none of it was genetic, I was still scared. I knew I didn’t want a baby at 32, the same age my mom was when Aaron was born. It seems silly, but that fear was there. Well, my last baby came when I was 32, and things turned out fine! I really had nothing to worry about, but I think death takes away the innocence sometimes and puts crazy fears into our minds and hearts. (As a side note, we chose to name our last baby after my brother.)

The grief has come in waves through the years. For me, it hit the hardest when I became a mother myself, and I finally knew and understood a mother’s love for her children. My heart ached for my parents, my mom especially, and their loss. I know how sad I was when Aaron didn’t live, but I can’t even imagine what my parents felt during those moments and still feel now.

I was also surprised how the grief hit again just a few years ago when I attended the funeral for our dear friends’ baby. When I walked up to see her in the casket, the grief hit me in the gut and took me right back to being 9-years-old and seeing my little brother in his casket. You never know what will trigger it.

I guess I want people, especially parents, to know that even if their children cope with the grief of losing a sibling as a child, it may hit them again as adults. The grief will most likely be different than they’ve experienced in the past and something they will have to continue to work through. Grief is a lifetime struggle that will come and go until we can be reunited with our loved one again.

Nine Years

8/03/2016

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Fact: When I saw Pat for the first time on our wedding day, he looked sick. When I asked him what was wrong, he replied, "I wasn't sure you were going to show up!" He had gotten the time wrong and showed up an hour early. Poor guy! He got even later when he stepped on my dress and tore the bustle and the little ladies helping panicked right before we walked into be sealed. It officially broke temple rules to be married without a bustle, I grabbed Pat’s hand and marched him in :)

Happy Nine years Patrick! Hopefully you've learned no matter the situation, I'll always show up :) Love you babe!

We Can Do Hard Things: Jennie Burt–Special Needs

7/25/2016

March 16, 2013 046

Meet Jennie and her son, Mitchell.
At age 24, Jennie delivered her first child, who was unexpectedly diagnosed with down syndrome. Her journey changed the instant she realized her expectations weren't what she thought they would be. However, she is realizing this different journey with an extra chromosome has brought with it extra love, extra laughter and an incredibly extraordinary human being. 

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Q: What words do you find most helpful when people talk to you about Mitchell?

A: “I appreciate hearing how Mitchell is doing. Everyone has an opinion…that’s what makes the world go ‘round. Communication is huge and essential when it comes to kids! I’d rather know what Mitchell is up to than have to guess or find out months or years later if there is an issue. Once I hear it then I can decide for myself how to take it. I may not be able to control other people from making rude or harsh comments, however I can control how I react or receive it and then take it from there.An open dialogue is essential to educating both the child and others.”

“We love when people ask how they can help Mitchell. One of the greatest examples… his primary teacher came up to me and told me Mitch would be in her class and she asked what she could do to help him stay sitting and try his hardest to pay attention so he could participate. I almost cried when she did this because I had the answer! He loves magnadoodles. The ticket to Mitch having an attention span is his “draw” as he calls it. The next week she had a magnadoodle, granola bar and fruit snacks in her primary bag and there were no words for how appreciative I was as a mom who was seeking for inclusion of my son in a social, spiritual setting. Mitchell’s spirit is pure and he has so much to offer and teach when people give him the opportunity.” 

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Q: Are there any actions performed by others that have come across hurtful?

A:Right after Mitchell was born we received a sympathy card in the mail. As a new mom I was expecting congratulations instead of condolences. It didn’t cross my mind that would even be a possibility until it was in my hands telling us how sorry they were about the situation. To me as a first time mom I didn't know how to take it. There were some who either out of ignorance or fear who knew of kids with Down syndrome but they would tell me they were "institutionalized.” I'm devastated when I think about that word and its meaning. Mitchell, like any other child with intellectual disabilities deserves the same treatment others receive. He is so much smarter than a lot of people realize. He senses when others are scared of him or intimidated by his openness. He gets when people get him…regardless of his own limitations. He sees people’s hearts, not their apparel, race, gender, color or creed. He loves with pure intent, and that is what makes him so perfect.”

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Q: What acts of kindness have you received that you have appreciated?

A: “After Mitchell was born, family members took turns on a weekend and slept over. They stayed over night to take care of Mitchell so Steve and I could sleep. We hadn’t had a good night’s rest since Mitchell’s birth. The second he was born I became a worrier. I was so consumed with Mitchell’s physical health, well being, and sleep that I didn’t think to analyze my own well being and quality of sleep! My mind never rested and so knowing that family members were caring for Mitchell gave me the peace of mind I so desperately needed in order to just sleep.”

“Also, my neighbors told me their cleaning ladies were scheduled to come to my house at a specific day and time. Hands down one of the greatest things that happened. It was literally and figuratively cleansing. My house was clean and tidy and organized so I felt even more charged to clean, tidy and organize myself…inside and out.”

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Gift Ideas:

  • Hiring a someone to clean their house.
  • Taking the night shifts so parents can get some sleep.
  • Communicating with the parents and trying to include their child.

And I couldn’t resist throwing this picture in.

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In his moms own words:

You know the silence in your house when it almost becomes deafening and you realize it’s too silent for comforts sake? It is during that silence when I walk in and see Mitchell creating art with a sharpie. Everywhere. The world around him was his canvas. There was black Sharpie on what felt like every inch of him, his bedspread, the walls, the carpet, our TV, his tongue and even our dog. All in a matter of minutes. I’ve never laughed so hard in my life because it was a choice to either laugh or cry at that moment, and it’s not a good look when I cry. That is, surprisingly, a small predicament in the life of Mitch Man.”

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