Sunday, November 29, 2009

Thank You!

My siblings and I were very close growing up in a sibling kind of way. We grew up in a small house and the girls shared a room as did the boys. We had one bathroom for 6 people. Back then I used to think it was the worst thing (especially when I was a teenager!). However, as I grew older, I began to appreciate the size of the house because I truly believe that it's a significant cause to the closeness my family shares now. My siblings and I are all within 5 years, so we are all relatively close in age.
It has been a lot of fun to watch them enjoy Colin as much as I do and I love watching their relationships build with their nephew. Because Chris was away this week, and my family helped out a lot, I got to spend a lot of time with them.
Surprisingly, all of them (including my brothers) have welcomed learning new things with a baby. From the time she was little, Aunt Kimmy always loved babies and you can tell by the way she is with Colin. She has been a huge help because her class schedule allows her to come down and help Chris and I out a lot.
This weekend, all of them helped in different ways (and my brothers learned some new things too!).
Aunt Kimmy feeding Colin his bottle and playing with him...

Uncle Pat learned how to feed Colin his lunch...
...and Uncle Timmy learned how to change a diaper (well, a wet one for now)!

...and because I just HAD to put these cute pictures up!

Recap from the Weekend

My first Thanksgiving with Colin! Here is Colin and his art project!

This weekend flew by very quickly as it always does for me. Unfortunately, I don't get much of a break except for Thanksgiving day because the winter sports season starts bright and early on Friday and Saturday mornings, while the football season ends Saturday afternoon with a game. Thankfully, I had lots of help with Chris being away!

Here are a few pics from Thanksgiving...
...a view of our table...
...and my little boy and I at the table. Loved spending it with you Colin!

Wednesday, November 25, 2009

Daddy Love

We miss daddy!

Unfortunately, daddy has to travel with work...the Monmouth University Men's Basketball Team (The Hawks!) so he left today for Wyoming and won't return until Tuesday. It's really hard for all of us because none of us wants to be away from each other for so long. Sometimes, you gotta do what you gotta do though so this is another thing we will get through as a family.

Hopefully one day Colin and I will be able to travel with daddy (right now my job holds me back)...

...until then, we miss you so much. It's definitely not the same without you! Just remember though that you will get through this and so will we!
Here is daddy and Colin snuggling together before daddy left (thanks Growing Tree for the picture!)...

Giving Thanks

There are always times when it's very easy to focus on the negative sides of things. When Colin was first born and we confirmed the diagnosis of Down Syndrome, we were heartbroken. It was easy to feel the sadness (because it was so overwhelming at the time) and more difficult to just be happy in the positives at the moment.

It's amazing how much changes in such a short amount of time. Sometimes when I look at Colin, it's hard to feel anything but happiness. I think about how I would like to go back and hug Chris and myself during that time period and tell them what I know now....that everything will be ok and that Colin will be so loved by friends and family, and will fight through everything he is presented with, and will be so special, that people will fall in love with HIM and melt hearts along the way. I would remind us to focus on the positives (great health) and to stay patient (which is still hard sometimes).

I have learned lots along the way, and am still learning (will be ongoing forever!)....I read a great post by Adrienne at Our Unexpected Journey about being Thankful for the unexpected. She talked about having a child with Down Syndrome and whether or not she was thankful for the Down Syndrome part because it was a huge part in making her child who he was. This post has stuck with me since reading it because she found a way to put into words something that I have been feeling. Superficially, it's hard to say that I am thankful for Colin having Down Syndrome because no one ever wants to have struggles for their children. However, if you were to remove the Down Syndrome, you would also remove the child that I know now and I could never imagine parting with this child.

I am grateful for Colin because of the things that he has taught me in 7 months span of time. I am proud of Chris and myself, and I am thankful to friends and family for supporting the three of us through this journey that we will continue to be on for a long time.

This holiday for me is about giving thanks for my very many blessings. I am so thankful that Colin was brought into my life and I am thankful that he has an extra chromosome. Without that, Chris and I would never have encountered such wonderful people and we probably would have never been as inspired about things as we are now...

I am thankful for...
  • my wonderful husband Chris who loves me and Colin with all that he is...
  • Supportive friends and family
  • New friends and family in the Down Syndrome community
  • All the people who have organized, signed up for, donated money to and supported CAT Crew on our quest to raise money for the Special Olympics through the polar bear plunge (we've raised just short of $10,000 so far!!!! If you would like to participate, just click here to go to our team page)
  • Love

Happy Thanksgiving!!!!

Tuesday, November 24, 2009

Happy Anniversary!

Happy 30th anniversary Nana and Grandad!!

Here is the happy couple toasting with champagne (and in their mickey ears from disney!)...

P.s....Colin wanted this picture put up!

To celebrate, we had a dinner at Milano's (their favorite restaurant) with their family! Here are a few pics from the day...

At their table...

Cutting the cake...

...and with the family...

We love you! Happy Anniversary!

Saturday, November 21, 2009

Happy 7 Month Birthday!

Colin turned 7 months old yesterday!! It's amazing how much has changed in just 7 months period of time! To celebrate (and for Chris' and my date night), our family (Chris, Colin and I) went out to Chevy's! Colin was such a good little boy and we all had a great time together!

We had a booth and Colin's seat fit perfectly! He was so busy looking around at all of the lights and listening to the sounds. He played with his activity strip on his high chair. Here is Colin in his seat!
We all had some drinks and toasted to the best 7 months together as a family! After toasting, Colin drank his bottle while Mommy and Daddy drank theirs...

After eating our dinners, we each took turns holding Colin because we just can't get enough!

We also had Colin's 7 month checkup with Dr. Uma on Thursday. Colin now weighs 15 lbs 7 ounces and was 26 1/4 inches long! He sure has grown since he was born 7 months ago weighing 6 lbs 4 ounces and 20 inches long!
This was Colin 3 days after he was born weighing only 6 lbs 2 ounces when we checked in with Dr. Uma.
Here he was weighing 12 lbs 7 ounces at 4 months old...

And here is Colin at 7 months old!

Friday, November 20, 2009

Happy Birthday Uncle Brian!

Dear Uncle Brian~

Happy Birthday 1 day late! Mommy was going to update the blog for me last night so I could actually wish you a happy birthday ON your birthday, but she was out late learning sign language to teach me. I hope you had a great birthday with Aunt Maureen!

I can't wait to see you again soon!

I love you!




Wednesday, November 18, 2009

Physical Therapy Update

I just sat here for the past 45 minutes watching Colin during his physical therapy session today on video. It kills me that I can't be there, and I sat and cried throught he whole thing because he was a superstar today!

I can tell you the feeling of pride that just swelled in me watching this video!

Miss K and Colin worked on so many new things today! I think one of the biggest things I learned today was how much Colin loves input through vibrations, rubbing, tapping, etc. It was a big motivator for Colin throughout the whole session.

Colin was in such a good mood and worked so hard! He is such a trooper! It's such great timing that his therapy sessions will be increasing in frequency because I feel that he is really going to take off with some new skills.

Some of the things they worked on today:
  • Hands and knees! Miss K worked on getting Colin to prop up on his arms in an extended position. From there, when she was giving input to his pec muscles, he pulled his legs up underneath and was on all fours! He stayed there long enough for her to rock him back and forth! It was so exciting!
  • Supported sitting: he did so well! You can really tell he is gaining in strength in his upper body because he can sit upright instead of slouched over.
  • Sitting to baseball slide: This exercise starts with Colin in the seated position, then you use one arm to prop on one of his sides, slide the other arm over, and then slide his arms out so he rotating onto his belly.
Those are a few of the major accomplishments he is making right now. We are so proud!
Here is our happy and strong little guy today!

Sunday, November 15, 2009

Happy Thanksgiving!

...a bit early!

Unfortunately, Chris will be traveling with work for Thanksgiving this year so he will not be able to spend it with Colin and I (big, big pouty lips). This also means that we won't be able to celebrate Thanksgiving right around the day with Chris' family, so we celebrated it yesterday!
Here are a few pics of the day (was busy with other things so I didn't get that many!)

Here is Colin feeding himself the bottle for lunch shortly after arriving...

Uncle Brian gets his turn with Colin,
...and Aunt Beth

...and then Aunt Maureen...

...this was calm Colin when eating (had a bit of a rough patch halfway through dinner)He also spent time with Gammy, Grandpa and Uncle Jason! Happy Thanksgiving!

Art Projects!

This is Colin's newest art project! This is another reason why we are really happy that Colin goes to school. His teachers tell us that whenever they break out the paints, Colin is very happy!

Saturday, November 14, 2009

Bedtime playtime

Since we drove back from Gammy and Grandpa's tonight and Colin slept the whole way, we kept him up a little longer to make sure he got the nebulizer treatment. I decided I wanted to snuggle with him for a little bit and then put him in bed. When I finally put him in bed, he was pretty tired so I started the seahorse, kissed him goodnight and went back downstairs with the monitor.

After the seahorse ran for 5 minutes, we started hearing a weird banging noise coming from Colin's room. When I went up there to check on him, he was playing with the musical thing on the crib...and it had been dark in there! Here is the video of the scene (when he was supposed to be sleeping!) It's ok, it just made me super happy to see him use his opposite hand to reach across his body to play with it!

Wednesday, November 11, 2009

The Specialness of 11-11

This day has taken off to a point where sometimes, it's almost hard to remember how and why it all started, but I would like to do my best to explain...

I've always been someone who would make a wish whenever the opportunity arose. Any time I walked by a fountain, I'd throw a penny in and make a wish, if I saw 11:11 on the clock, wishing like crazy on November 11th (11-11!), blowing out birthday candles, and most especially, shooting stars. I can tell you that the majority of the wishes I had growing up were always based on the fact that I wanted to fall in love and find my prince charming...(I can tell you now that it came true!)

We all have a journey that we follow in life and mine brought me to someone special named Rob. I was a teenager in high school working over the summer at Beach Bum Bagels in Lavallette and he used to come in all of the time while I was working. We got to know each other, kept in touch over the year, and then would spend time together again once I went back to the beach for the next summer. In the summer of 2001, we had a great time together and for the 1st time, I knew what love was. Unfortunately, shortly after I returned to school and only several days after September 11th, we found out that Rob had cancer. During the time we spent together over those months, we would make a wish every time the clock turned 11:11 that he would get his health back. I can vividly remember going with him and his family to the bay late one night because there was a meteor shower. The whole sky was filled with shooting stars and I wished as hard as I could that night...

On April 6th, 2002, Rob lost his fight with cancer. When something bad happens, you always want to have an answer why. Unfortunately, I don't have an answer why that happened, but I can tell you how my life was changed because of knowing Rob...

...I truly believe that the journey I have followed in life brought me to Rob for many reasons, but most especially, because during that short time, I learned what that kind of love was. Of course I had the love from family and friends, but as we all know, that kind is different.

...I truly believe that had I not taken that path in life, I would not have ended up where I am today with the most wonderful husband and baby whose love fill me completely. When Chris and I first met, Chris wanted to know my story because as he said "it was who I was". Chris had had his own experiences in life and love, all of which brought him to me...

Through Rob, I have had the privilege of getting to know his family, who have become a part of my family and for that I am grateful.

And because the number 11 took on so many meanings leading up to and during that time in my life, I take this day to say thank you to all of my stops on my journey...all of my friends and family who have supported me, loved me, and all been a part in making me who I am today.

...To My Family and Friends...(new and old!)
Thank you for all of the love and support you have given Chris, Colin and I. You are a part of each one of us and our journey, and we are who we are today BECAUSE of you...I love you!

To Chris...
Thank you for giving me your love, for taking care of Colin and I, and for being the rock to our family...I will always be "lost in this moment with you..." I love you!

To Colin...
You may not know this now, but my life is forever changed because of you. You scared me initially because I feared the unknown, but I fear nothing now. You fight, you perservere, and you love unconditionally. You have melted my heart...and you are changing each one of us that encounters you. Big things are going to happen because of you...

Happy 11-11!!


One of the things Miss D wants us working on with Colin is imitation. This could be anything where Colin could copy what we are doing. One of the things Colin did early on was copy Nana making raspberries (way back over the summer). Now, he is taking it to a whole new level with sticking his tongue out as he does it! It's so funny to watch and I caught it on video tonight. He sees what I do and then he does it himself. Although, this time, HE started it, and then I copied him!

Happy 11-11!

Happy 11-11!!

This is a very special day for me (a post I will hopefully have time to do later today) but I just wanted to wish everyone a special 11-11!!


Tuesday, November 10, 2009

Well, It Happened...

I was in the grocery store yesterday with Colin and the young girl who was checking me out was gushing over Colin. I've had her before; she used to ask questions while I was pregnant, but I'm pretty sure she doesn't remember who I am.

I was already a bit flustered because I couldn't find a basket to carry while I pushed Colin in the stroller so I was shoving stuff in the basket underneath, plus Colin's teacher told us she felt he was a little off (so I was very closely watching him), and on top of all of that, I always feel rushed while I'm bagging my groceries.

So as she was gushing over him telling me how cute he was, she turned to me and said, "he's a downs baby right?" I will tell you over and over again that I'm Ok talking to anyone about Colin's diagnosis and where he is at right now. However, I was completely thrown off guard and had a million thoughts racing through my head but just couldn't seem to spit anything out. I kept thinking "he's doing so well!", "he's going to break the mold!", "he has Down Syndrome, he's not a Downs baby" all I actually said was yes. It reminded me of that part in Dirty Dancing where Baby kept muttering to herself "I carried a watermelon?!" after an exchange at that upstairs "club" of sorts with Patrick Swayze.

Then she babbled on about how she grew up with "Downs babies" and that her brother has Aspergers so she is very aware of children with special needs. In any other moment, I may have been able to respond back, but I just nodded and smiled as I rushed to get all of the groceries bagged. The women behind me was just staring at me as though I was taking too long.

So, it happened. Someone flat out asked...took a lot longer than I expected for that to happen!

Sunday, November 8, 2009

The Tobin Weekend in Review

We had a pretty busy weekend this weekend and we had 1 good little boy through it all!

On Friday, Nana and Grandad came to visit Colin and spend time with him while Mommy and Daddy worked. They had just gotten back from Walt Disney World and had some nice surprises for Colin! Here is Colin and his new Mickey doll...he loved it so much he tried chewing his nose off!

Saturday, we were all supposed to take a family photo together at Colin's school, but Daddy had to go to the championship field hockey game that Monmouth women made it to...unfortunately, they lost, but it was a good year for them! Instead, mommy and Colin went and got their picture taken together.

Here is Colin in his outfit posing for the camera...

...and a self-portrait of Mommy and Colin.

Later that afternoon, we met up with Daddy and drove up to Farmington, Connecticut where we stayed in a hotel and hung out with Simon. The next day the Monmouth Hawks Women's Soccer were playing in the NEC championship game and we were going to watch! Colin got his PJs on after getting there and hung out on the bed for a little while. Colin went to sleep very easily while the grown-ups hung out...

This morning we woke up, had breakfast with the girls (who had fun meeting and playing with Colin!) and then headed over to the field at Central Connecticut State University.

Here's the day from Colin's perspective...

First, I ate my lunch... ...then peed everywhere so Mommy had to change me (oops!). Just after she got finished changing me, I pooped, so she had to change me all over again!

After all that, I was exhausted, so I took a nap right behind the Hawk's bench!

Daddy and Simon hung out together during the game. I think they were pretty nervous because they were pacing and getting excited when the Hawks almost scored a few times! But guess what?! In overtime, the Hawks scored and won the championship! With all of the excitement, my eyes popped open and then I was awake to watch the celebrating!

Mommy and I hung out on the grass and waited for Daddy to finish all of his work...I was so patient!

Mommy and Daddy should be so proud of me because I was such a good boy on the way home! I slept and played with my toys even though I was a little bit hungry!

What a great weekend with my family!