In These Three Years

As we celebrate Seth’s 3rd birthday, I have a very strong mix of emotions. There is a combination of happy, sad, emotional, nostalgic, and longing tears, but most importantly, of grateful tears.

I am so blessed that I have him. He truly is a gift from God. He has brought so much love and happiness not only to our immediate family personally, but to our broader church family, to the special needs community, and also to the whole world! You see, he is a delight. Everyone delights in him. They can’t help but smile when they see him.

2013 Spring 590I particularly remember walking the streets of downtown Seattle, pushing him in his stroller, and he was waving to everyone we passed. I watched their faces. Nine times out of ten, they couldn’t help but smile. I started counting. During our short little walk while Daddy was working, he made over 20 STRANGERS smile! I quit counting, and just enjoyed the fact that this little boy, this little sweetie that some people would deem “not compatible with life”, a life that some people would destroy, brings SO MUCH JOY to those around him. Just to the general public! Does he not make YOU smile?

Through this little boy, I have formed a bond with the special needs community as a whole. I have come to understand families with children who have a diagnosis that people don’t understand, that people don’t get, that people avoid. It isn’t easy to comprehend what they are going through, until you are there with them, in the trenches. I have learned SO much about not only Trisomy 21, but about so many other diagnoses. A family member said to me a year or so ago that “now all of your friends are people with a kid with Down syndrome. “ It hurt for them to say that. I hadn’t ABANDONED my friends and family. I had GROWN it. Why couldn’t this person see that? Why is it so “obnoxious” that I have these new friends?

These “new friends” understand what is going through my mind on a much deeper level. They are there themselves. It is a whole new world, that those outside of can’t fully comprehend. Don’t get me wrong, my family and friends have always been there for me, supporting me, and helping me, but they haven’t been in my shoes, yet. They haven’t faced this new life with all of its unknowns and doubts and fears. It would be like joining the military, or the ministry, and not being friends with other soldiers, or other ministers and people in other churches.

IMG_5812You connect with these people because you are in the same situation. Some of them have years of experience, lessons learned, heartaches felt, tears shed to share with me. I have gleaned so much from the special needs community, that I am glad that I am able to give back just a little when I share Seth’s triumphs and accomplishments. My family and older friends rejoice with me, but my special needs community sheds tears with me, because they GET IT! They KNOW how hard it is to REACH those milestones!

I have “new friends” who have children much older than Seth, who have helped pave the way for so many things that are SO important in Seth’s life. I am thankful for those science fanatics who have learned how to create vitamins specifically for kids with Trisomy 21, who have put together lists of supplements, who have learned how to redirect the brain to build new bridges so that he can accomplish new milestones, who have spent their lives trying to protect the unborn from being destroyed because of fear of the unknown. THESE are my “new friends”! Be glad that I have them in my life, that we are walking this path together! For the sake of my son.

One of the biggest blessings in my life is the fact that my family has always been involved in the church, since I was an infant. My dad went to Bible school when I was a tiny tot, and went on to be a full-time pastor when I was eleven years old. I was raised going to church and meeting new Christians from other churches. That’s how I met my husband! As I got older, I was blessed to meet people from churches around the United States, and in more recent years, I have been blessed to meet people from churches all over the world! I thank my dad for creating this love for other Christians in other countries!

I tell you this, because now, Seth is loved ALL OVER THE WORLD! He has moms camera 063families not just in every state in the United States (especially in Alaska and Oregon), but in Ukraine, Poland, Japan, Hungary, Bulgaria, Russia, Australia, United Kingdom, Canada, New Zealand, Philippines, India, Ireland, Germany, Brazil, Egypt, South Africa, Pakistan, Malaysia, Italy, Spain, Costa Rica, Chile, Indonesia, Portugal, Turkey, Mexico, Ecuador, Singapore, South Korea, Czech Republic, Argentina, France, Lebanon, Norway, Netherlands, Puerto Rico, Kenya, Bosnia, Herzegovina, Iran, Kosovo, Bangladesh, Panama, Kuwait, Bermuda, Sweden, and England who love him, are inspired by him, are challenged by him.

Finally, Seth has changed our family. He has opened our eyes to the needs of others. He has opened our eyes to the plight of a whole generation of unborn children who are killed because of the unknown, because their parents are scared of what they don’t understand. I now have a passion to help them understand, and to not fear it, but to embrace this new adventure that God has laid before them with their own precious gift.

Family members have asked me if it seems like there are more children born with Down syndrome now than there were a few generations ago. I think it is because social networking makes the world seem smaller and more connected. You hear of more stories, and meet more people. 2013 Spring 114Once your eyes are opened to something such as Trisomy 21, you see it everywhere. Also, my husband and I have talked about the sad fact that the reason that is seems like there are more instances of special needs in the Christian and homeschooling communities is because we are families not aborting our babies because of it.

Seth has opened our family’s eyes to the need for supporting those who are diagnosed both before and after birth as well. At the tender age of 11, my daughter spent a lot of her time creating a video to share withthose who were new to a diagnosis. She created this video in the hopes of it helping to change the way the world sees a Trisomy 21 diagnosis. You can watch her video here.

One of my sons remarked to me a few days ago that his understanding of Trisomy 21 has changed with the life of his little brother. He thought all kids with T21 were the same. He didn’t realize how different they all are, how smart they are, how fun they can be. This young manis going into the military. I look forward to seeing how God will use Seth in his life to go forth and change the world, and be able to connect with others in a new and different way.

Another one of my sons is going into the medical field. He already had a heart for helping others. He adores his baby brother and would give his life for him. God only knows the ways he will be able to be more compassionate, more endearing, more capable, and more knowledgeable when it comes to his work in the medical field with this newfound understanding of children and adults with special needs.

Band of brothersI also have four other sons who are more aware of their surroundings. They ask questions about others and are friendly and caring to those who may appear to be a little different. It seems as if every time we go to the park, other parents and grandparents compliment me on how nice, loving and accepting my children are toward others. They also have a bold understanding of special needs, and share with strangers that their little brother has special needs, but “he is learning REALLY FAST!” They get excited with each new word that Seth is able to say, and every new feat he is able to accomplish. They have learned to slow down and enjoy the little things. They will be better friends, neighbors and eventually fathers because of it.

Yes, Seth is making a difference, one smile, one milestone, one trial, one triumph at a time. And this is just the beginning.

Seth – 20 months old

I realized that SO much has changed for Seth in the last month, and I haven’t shared on my blog! It is AMAZING the growth I have seen in him!


1) 4-point crawling is now his default mode of travel! He started his first 4-point crawl at the beginning of September, when he was in the nursery at Awana! I was in there with him, and he got up on his hands and knees, crawled 4 spaces, signed milk, and said, “Please!” It was SO incredible! I was SO excited!!

After that, he would revert back to the belly sliding most of the time and I was getting rather discouraged, but one funny story about that is that I would tell him “get up on your knees” and he would for a pace or two, then drop back down. After about a week of that, I would say, “Get up on your knees, Seth!” and he would laugh and start belly crawling away faster! He is such a little stinker bug!!


I was getting a little discouraged again, (why do I always do that to myself!?), so I started “making him” crawl on his knees up and down the hallway, like I did when he was first learning how to make forward motion. This time was a little more challenging though, for as soon as I would get in front of him to encourage him forward, he would drop back down onto his belly and scoot. Eventually, after several days of multiple times up and down the hallway, he gave up the belly crawling for the much faster mode of 4-point crawling. He’ll still drop down on his belly at times, especially if it is a nice slick floor (he’s NO dummy!), and “glide” across the floor at top speed!

3) Seth is now pulling up on EVERYTHING, including the coffee table, bar stools, chairs, laundry baskets, toys, beds, mats, etc! He is now cruising along any surface, and passing back and forth between items!


He has learned the fine art of climbing from place to place, including the stairs. On Sunday, he climbed all the way to the top of the stairs at church to the youth room with no one noticing, and started hollering because it echoes up there! He will climb up onto the floor mats in his sister’s room and then onto the bed by the mat, and two days ago, he climbed A LADDER!! It’s a good thing his brother was around to spot him!!


He will stand against the wall for a long time, playing ball with me, until he tires and lowers himself down to a sitting position! He will also stand at the coffee table, and barely hold on with one hand while playing with whatever he can get his hands onto.


2) After he started 4-point crawling, it was like his brain exploded with new energy. He has added A LOT of new signs to his list! He now signs the following words, and will put 2-3 signs together to get what he wants, like “eat more,” “more cracker,” “more milk please,” etc.:

  1. Mama
  2. more
  3. milk
  4. eat
  5. tired
  6. water
  7. all done
  8. baby (it’s SO cute!!)*
  9. thirsty*
  10. dog*
  11. Dada*
  12. please*
  13. thank you*
  14. hat*
  15. ball*
  16. cracker*

(* denotes it is a brand new sign from last week! It seems like I am missing a few, but I can’t think of them right now.) He will try just about any sign I show him, so I’m trying to expand his “vocabulary” while he is still a sponge, yet maintaining the ones he knew before. Naomi and I have started signing the song “Father, I Adore You” to him, and he will roll his hands around trying to copy us! It is SO good to be able to communicate with him more!!

3) His siblings have taught him a new game too. They will ask him, “Where do you want to go?” and he will emphatically point and say, “Dat dey!!” to which they will run with him in their arms, in whatever direction he indicates. 😀


4) He can now place the rings onto his stacker, and tonight at dinner, he was stacking the coasters up on top of his cup! He also puts the balls into his ball popper  (it only had a small ball-sized hole) and can almost hit the plunger hard enough to start it.

While eating meals, he has figured out how to hold his cup completely on his own, and then set it down in the designated circle on the high chair tray! He loves to do it because his siblings all clap for him, so he claps too!


I ordered a new toy for him, and it came in the mail today. I can’t wait to introduce it to him and see how he does! I’ll try to take pictures!

5) He is also “reading”! He has been using Little Reader through Brillkids, and I really didn’t think he was getting much out of it. I have the iAccess with his account, and we use the iPad mostly, so it’s touch screen. He is now tapping the “page” to turn the “page.”

ALSO, at the end of each section is a game time. I usually skip through that pretty quickly, because I assumed he couldn’t do it. Well, one day, I let him try, and he picked the right response! It prompts him to respond such as “Touch the pig.” AND HE DID IT!! I was SO surprised! Joey is using Little Reader too, and Seth will crawl over to him and take the iPad away for himself! It is just amazing how much this kiddo LOVES to learn!!


Ok, enough bragging for now! I need to get some sleep so I can keep up with him!

May the Lord bless you and your family!

Seth is 19 months old now!

Mommy brag time! Seth is standing right up and then sitting down, onto a stool, at the coffee table on his own! Still a little wobbly, but he’s actually moving his feet when he’s standing there now too! He even kicked the block that fell on the floor at his feet! I really feel like he is SO close to cruising!

Oh, and he CAN crawl on all fours if he feels my hand is under his chest, even ever so slightly, but his preferred mode is definitely to pull himself. He’s been doing it so long, I’m really at a loss as to how to change that!

 Cowboy Seth

He also loves to put things onto his head, socks, blocks, clothes, etc. and giggles like crazy when they fall off. It’s SO cute!

He’s doing things on command, like “Sit down,” “Give me a kiss!,” etc. His signing is exploding too! He signs more, all done, water, tired, mama, eat, and milk, and says “please” at the same time that he signs. Tonight, I asked him, “Are you tired?” and he signed it twice! I guess he was really tired! 

My little man is growing up….

Teaching babies with Ds to climb stairs

child toddler learning to climb stairs physical therapy

I can’t say how much I enjoy reading! This latest link is on teaching our kiddos to climb stairs. Although I admit there are times that I am sad that Seth isn’t as far as Noah at his age, I look at how far *he’s come* in the last few months!! He’s getting it!!

Now, for an update on Seth, he can now drink from a straw (!!), get up on his hands and knees and lunge forward, AND he is army crawling *over* 110 feet DAILY!! THAT is not including all of the roaming around on his own that he does, just playing on the floor. He is also eating table food, loves ground beef and rice, and will self-feed if it is enticing enough.

We are getting ready to enjoy our Resurrection weekend, starting with Good Friday and our church’s Tenebrae service. I’ll be sure to post pictures of Seth(and the other kiddos) at both services. :)

Who I Am…A 3/21 Post

March 21st is World Down Syndrome Day, and this year’s theme is

“Who I Am.”

The month (3) and day (21) were chosen to represent Trisomy 21, the most common type of Down syndrome, in which the cells of the body contain three copies (instead of the usual two) of the 21st chromosome.

I am Seth…

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I am a child of God…

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I am inquisitive…


I am goofy…

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I am joyful…

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I am adventurous…

2013 Spring Seth on sled

I am loved…


I am Daddy’s buddy…


I am family…


I am adorable!

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It’s who I am!!

March Seth Update

First, I have to define some words. According to my books, “army crawling” is technically crawling, and what we generally think of as crawling, is called creeping. That being said, Seth can now crawl the full length of the house, about 45 feet, at one time!

While reading How to Teach Your Baby to Be Physically Superb, I found that at the stage Seth was at, just starting to crawl, that we should expand his distance 1ft per day, and by the time he could reach 100-150 feet, he would start pulling his knees up under himself.

Well, we started out under the quilt rack in the livingroom, but he didn’t want to add just a foot a day! Once he got going, there was hardly any stopping him! Some days, he will tire rather quickly of the game, but other days, he goes full bore ahead! So, he can make it all the way down the hall and past Daddy’s office door, with us building block towers as fast as we can so he can knock them down!IMG_2624Remember how I said that once he hit 100 or more feet he would start pulling his knees under himself? Well, on Sunday, at church, he got up on his hands and knees and was rocking back and forth!! Won’t be long now!