The Three Thanksgivings

We enjoyed Thanksgiving for a week…literally. Our first Thanksgiving was at DiDi’s and Uncle Steve’s house. These two were amazing host. Everyone helped with food preparations, but Uncle Steve and DiDi cooked a feast before the arrival of any other dishes. Two words for my favorite Thanksgiving food this year – oyster dressing! Seriously delicious! There was food, food, and more food.

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On Tuesday we traveled to Smithville, Tennessee to spend Thanksgiving with Louis’ side of the family. A trip to BeBe and Bubba’s house is always greatly anticipated by Lily. We enjoyed visiting with family and overeating a mixture of Arabic food along with the traditional Thanksgiving spread.

There was food preparation.

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BeBe, GooGoo and Aunt Wanda

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Time with family. Louis with Uncle George.

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Buba and David relaxing.

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Pa, GooGoo and David

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David enjoyed his time with Pa.

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Maria has been especially kind and thoughtful to us since David has been born. She has called, text, and there is no guessing about how much she loves our Sunshine. Louis’ father’s family is from Israel. In the picture below Maria is singing to David in Arabic, just in case you can’t tell from his huge grin – HE LOVED IT!

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Maria, Arianna, and Aunt Lillian

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If you know Aunt Lillian there is no question as to why we chose the name Lily for our daughter. The two Lilys…

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Lily enjoyed playing with Mia. BeBe has a play room that is a kid’s dream come true.

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We wrapped up Thanksgiving week at my parent’s house. We had Thanksgiving southern style with BBQ and ribs.

It was a week where the family reflected on God’s goodness to us this year. A year where we were brought closer by the unexpected events surrounded David’s birth. A year that brought us mercy and blessings. There were prayers and thanksgivings whispered that this little guy was able to enjoy a Thanksgiving feast with the family…

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David’s New Trick

A few months ago I began researching different types of therapies that might assist David in learning to sit up. Sitting up is our next big milestone, and I want to do what I can to help David achieve this milestone. Children with Down syndrome have low muscle tone, so their development is delayed. The majority of a baby’s physical development comes from their core strength. Rolling over, playing with toes, sitting up, putting weight on legs, army crawling, crawling, pulling up, and walking can not be achieved until the core muscles are strong enough to support this type of movement. When I try to find therapies for David I look for the advice of other stay at home moms, not because I think they are experts on all things. Stay at home mothers are able to implement a consistent therapy program with their Down syndrome children because they are with them all day. Here is what I found and what I have been doing with David for several months.

Any time David is in a reclining position we do the same three things each time before I actually pick him up. He has to reach for me. Once his arms are all the way up I grasp his fingers and help him do a mini crunch into the sitting position. I help him hold the sitting position for a few seconds and then I pick him up. I always cheer for him, and he breaks out into the BIGGEST grin. So, over the course of months he has done hundreds of these mini crunches. He has held the same sitting position hundreds of times, but today I turned loose and…

TA-DA!! TRIPOD SITTING!

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He was able to hold this position for 10-15 seconds. I think those chubby rolls in his arms helped.

I had a difficult weekend. A weekend where I struggled with David’s physical delays.  I was reminded today that God knows. He knows my weakness. He knows my desires. He knows my heart and struggles. On this day when I was feeling discouraged – He knew, and it was no accident that David’s “trick” happened today.

A Family to Be Thankful For

In the Spirit of Thanksgiving, I would like to give thanks for the wonderful family that God, in His loving kindness, has given me. We are not a perfect group of folks, but four individuals learning to see God’s grace through daily interacting with the imperfections of one another. I enjoy everyday that I am able to spend with my family. That doesn’t mean that every day is easy, but it does mean that a day does not pass by in which I am able to share an enjoyable moment with my wife and children.

Lily is my silly little sweet pea. We laugh and act ridiculously goofy together. Her little sense of humor is one of the highlights of my day. She is also a little snuggler. We like to cuddle up and watch a show or read a Bible story before bed time. I treasure these times and am very thankful for them.

David is my little smiley faced sunshine man. We enjoy cuddling up and chatting or eating. He is a laid back fella, and I love being his daddy.

Abigail is my sweet, kind, beautiful, work horse, wife. She makes sure that everything is going the way it should be. She is very diligent with David’s therapy as well as the rest of his everyday medicine and care. She is a wonderful, patient mother to our daughter, who takes the time and effort to teach Lily how to bake and help out with everyday cooking and activities. She is my best friend. We laugh together, and huff and puff together at times too. We have a wonderful relationship for which I am very thankful.

-Louis

Every Good Gift

“Every good gift and every perfect gift is from above, and cometh down from the Father of lights, in whom is no variableness, neither shadow of turning.” James 1:17

My first post on this blog, “All is Grace,” was written while I was sitting in the cafeteria at  LeBonheur hospital. David had been taken for a biopsy to test for Hirspreung’s Disease. He was only 5 days old, and I was a mess. A crying, fatigued, emotional mess. In that post I wrote about a book I had read and re-read shortly before David was born (and have read again since his birth). In One Thousand Gifts the author Ann Voskamp challenges her readers to count the gifts God gives us – count them one by one all the way to one thousand. This time last year I began the challenge. I started listing God’s gifts. I started this challenge for several reasons, but honestly I started this challenge because the author of this book struggles with worry and anxiety, and so do I. It’s a sin I fight every day. Somewhere in the book she says something like – you can’t be thankful and worry at the same. She’s right. This is a practical way I battle my worry. I count. I count His gifts and they are many. When I began counting I thought it would be easy to reach one thousand, but once you get past your usual surface thankfuls it becomes more difficult. You have to look closer, but when you do, you get a glimpse of God’s love towards us in all His gifts.

While we were in LeBonheur I kept counting. I would write His gifts on napkins, receipts, scraps of paper and then stuff them in a book. I recently took the time to sit down and add them to my list. I want to say, “THAT GOD IS GOOD! ALL THE TIME!”  David’s birth, through our time in the hospital, through 2 major surgeries, through trials I never thought I would be able to face, through the last seven months, and YES, through a Down syndrome diagnosis – GOD IS GOOD! ALL THE TIME! I recently had a conversation with a friend, and I was able to tell her in all honesty that David is perfect for me. I’m easily discouraged, overwhelmed easily, battle anxiety, worry, and a melancholy spirit, and this little boy with Down syndrome is a gift I never expected to add to my list, but he’s there. He’s an unexpected gift I didn’t know I needed. “Every good gift and every perfect gift is from above…”

I recently reached #500. I’m half way, and I’m still counting. It’s a great challenge.

Happy Thanksgiving! I’m especially thankful that GOD IS GOOD! ALL THE TIME!

A Happy Tuesday

 

This is how my happy Tuesday began. Really all my days begin like this because Sunshine smiles ALL the time. His nickname couldn’t be more perfect.

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 I was doing therapy with David, and Lily came in to be “timer girl.” So, my day just got happier. When we received our therapy program I was concerned about the time it would involve, but the program has actually been something that we can all do together. Lily thinks it’s fun to keep time and some of the therapy activities she can do herself. She enjoys being the big helper. In this picture she was helping with his face to face therapy – she takes the face to face quite literally.

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I was downstairs cleaning when I heard happy chatter coming from the baby monitor. David was taking his morning nap, and Lily was playing dress-up…or so I thought. Yes, she was in his baby bed with him. This made me happy.

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Happier

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and more happy! and YES David still has a crazy mo-hawk. We try to tame it, but it’s futile.

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Then the mail came, and I received a package. A friend of mine recently attended a pro-life dinner. One of the guest speakers was a woman with Down Syndrome. Do you remember that 92% of women who receive a DS diagnosis abort their babies? This woman talked about how she loved her life, was happy, didn’t want to be different. She designs and sells these shirts. This shirt made me happy. I actually cried happy tears, because it came on a perfect day. A day when I can truly feel and can say with all honesty that I love my life! I love my children and wouldn’t change a thing. They make me happy.

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I hope you are having a happy Tuesday, too!