Sunday, October 31, 2010

The End of the Challenge

I am proud to say that I have successfully completed the 31 for 21 challenge by posting every single day of the month of October, which is Down Syndrome Awareness Month. It's amazing how fast a month goes by these days!
To round up the month, I would like to take a minute for a few more special thank yous...

First, I must thank my little boy Colin for opening my eyes to a whole new world full of possibilities. There was a time when I used to think that everything must fall on a certain timeline. I thought that things had to go a certain way, the way they were supposed to, and if they deviated off that path, it wasn't a good thing. However, I am slowly learning through Colin that it is ok if things don't go exactly as planned and sometimes, it's worth the challenge. I am more in love with Colin than I ever thought possible and I look forward to the challenges that lie ahead...I love you Colin!

Next, I would like to thank often hear that families with a child with special needs have struggles because of the challenges that they face. More times that I would like to note, I have heard stories from families whose significant others left them after their child was born because they could not face the challenges that lie ahead with having a child with special needs. I am thankful because Colin has only made Chris and I stronger as a family. I am proud to say that since the beginning, Chris and I have always had something unique and special. We certainly faced a time after Colin's diagnosis where we didn't know what was yet to come and that made things difficult, however, instead of pulling apart, we pulled together and have built this family to be strong and optimistic about the future. In the past 18 months we have gone through a lot together, but each step of the way we have worked together to successfully accomplish it and move on. Thank you Chris for working so hard to give Colin and I everything we could ever want...your love.

Finally, I must thank our families and our friends. You have all supported us from day one and we couldn't ask for more loving and giving grandparents, aunts, uncles, cousins, extended family members, old friends and new friends for Colin. Instead of backing away when Colin was born and his diagnosis was confirmed, you pushed forward so that we always knew and felt your unwavering support. We love you all and are so thankful to have you in our lives...we look forward to all that is yet to come...

We love you! xoxoxoxo

Saturday, October 30, 2010

A Special Thank You...

When you have a child with special needs, you have a team of people working together with you in order to accomplish goals set forth for your child. Within Colin's 1st four weeks of life (and after only having his diagnosis confirmed for 3), we already had his Early Intervention meeting accomplished and the 1st therapist that came to see us was Miss Darlene.

Miss Darlene is Colin's developmental therapist. For those of you who are not familiar with that type of therapist, she is essentially, the "teacher" who covers Colin's overall development. She works on imitation, structured play, receptive and expressive language, gross motor, fine motor, etc. all lumped into one. Colin sees her 1 hour per week. She was the first therapist to come into our house and she came when we had no idea what to expect, and without having any idea what the road ahead had for us. She has been there for Colin, and most importantly, for us as well. We found out today that Miss Darlene will no longer be working for Early Intervention, and when I found out, I literally started crying. Not only is she great for Colin, but she has become a friend to us, and we truly value her opinion and support. We are thrilled for her and what her journey contains for her and for her family, but we couldn't help but feel a little selfish in not wanting to see her go....If you have any type of connection with your team, I am sure you can relate to how we feel. We love you Miss Darlene!

The second person to come into our home was Miss Kathy, Colin's physical therapist. She has a very different personality than Miss Darlene, and although she pushes Colin in a different way, she also is very lovey and caring and supportive. She originally started with just two one hour sessions a month, and has since increased to an hour a week, and then finally, to two one hour sessions a week. She has a unique skill to push Colin past his limits when the time is right, and to back off and take it easy when Colin's demeanor says so. She also has been a wonderful listening ear for Chris and I and has helped us transition to where we are now in terms of accepting Colin's progress without harping on numbers and test results. She has played a large role in helping us to understand that when the time is right, Colin will accomplish skills. She also believes in all the little steps that build up to the big ones. Before she would even be happy with Colin being able to independently sit, he had to accomplish the little skills that led to it. We are so happy with what she has done for Colin (and us!)...we love you Miss Kathy!

Miss Amy is Colin's speech therapist and she sees Colin once a week for an hour per session. She is newer to our team as she started when Colin was about 16 months old. We only started speech therapy with Colin when he was a year old, and the first therapist that was in the home was not able to accomplish some of the goals, even on a short term basis, that we had set forth for Colin. Miss Amy came into our home completely organized (she had called prior to our first session to learn more about Colin and what we were hoping to accomplish), she had experience with children with Down Syndrome, and you could tell from the first minute that she would make changes with him. In the past two months, Colin's communication skills have taken off and he completely warmed up to her. She has a plan each session, and she doesn't move forward until Colin is able to accomplish the short term goals. We like her plan because they are goals that are realistic. We really like the way she works with Colin and we are so happy with Colin's progress because of her joining our team. Most importantly, we feel comfortable with her. We love you Miss Amy!

Finally, last but not least, is Miss Regina. She is the newest member to our team as she only started in September (that was when we finally got occupational therapy added). I, unfortunately, have not had the privalege to meet her in person, but have spoken to her many times on the phone. Colin has done really well with her, and my favorite thing that has happened so far is that when Miss Regina showed up for Colin's session at school, he crawled right over to her. She is working really hard on the challenges that we face with Colin (primarily, his fine motor skills related to eating) and has been trying to get to the bottom of those challenges. She works really hard at building Colin's upper body strength and has developed a sensory-motor program to help overcome some of his issues. We couldn't be happier and again, we feel comfortable with her and enjoy watching Colin's relationship with her flourish. We love you Miss Regina!

We are extremely grateful to Colin's team. We can't forget to mention our case manager, Nancy (not pictured) for all that she does behind the scenes to make sure Colin is taken care of. They have done extraordinary things for an exraordinary little boy. Thank you from the bottom of our hearts for taking care of Colin and helping us to achieve his goals.

Love, Kelli, Chris, and Colin xoxoxxoxoxo

Friday, October 29, 2010

31 for 21: Day 29!

I can't believe that Down Syndrome awareness month is coming to a close! I have been honored to participate with fellow bloggers in raising awareness for all of our very special kids. These blogs were the first things that started to make me realize that everything would be ok when we received Colin's diagnosis.

Because of this, I wanted to say thank you to all of our blog friends out there...both those we have met and those that we hope to meet some day. I truly enjoy being on this journey with you, and sharing in all of the ups and downs that life brings us with having a child with special needs. I never could have imagined that Colin would have brought me so many wonderful people. I feel lucky that our paths have crossed (even though it may be in the online world!)....

I look forward to contiuously sharing this journey with you!

Thank you blog friends! I truly appreciate all of your support, advice, and just a listening ear...

Thursday, October 28, 2010

What I Would have Told Myself...

Today was one of those days where I had lots of advice for the parents that we were when we found out Colin had Down syndrome. Today was one of those days that Colin made me get all teary eyed because I was so proud of him. Back then I was so worried about what the future would hold. It's natural, but we couldn't stop thinking about when and how Colin would do things.

If I could go back, based on what I know now 18 months in, I would tell myself to push through the first year because it would get easier. I would remind myself to be patient because there would come a time when Colin would go through an explosion of aquiring skills. I would tell myself that there would be good days and bad days (I mean, we all have those anyway!) but Colin would never stop pushing as long as we didn't stop pushing him. I am optimistic about the future because it holds so much for colin.

These are the little things that happened today that made me wish I could go back and give myself advice...

- Colin only drank one bottle today because he did so well with the straw during dinner.
- He was excited to see his OT, Miss Regina today (I love how comfortable he is with ALL of his therapists).
- He pulled himself up to stand at the side of the tub (check out the video below!).
- He added 2 more signs to his vocabulary this week and has almost acquired a 3rd!
- He is communicating more and more.
- He is creative (hiding toys and shoes and "stuff" all over the flip flops are currently under the heating vents by the front door).
- He is loving.

The 1st video is of Colin drinking so well from the straw (probably a good 2-3 ounces!). When I finally starting video taping, he started showing off by spitting some back out, but he wasn't spitting any out to start!

This 2nd video is Colin trying to get in the tub. I originally brought him in the bathroom and was about to start undressing him when he pulled himself right up to the side and tried to dive right in. We finally started the video on the 2nd or 3rd attempt. It was so funny. We got a great video of him "swimming" in the tub, but I'm afraid to post it on here since there were lots of tushy shots in it. It was so cute though!

Wednesday, October 27, 2010

Special Visit

Guess who came to see me today? My special friends/Aunts Natalia and Jen!! I haven't seen them since the summer so it was so great to get to spend time with them...I definitely gave out lots of hugs and kisses (but it's no surprise, I love the ladies!)!

Tuesday, October 26, 2010

Colin's Friend Rylee

Colin's friend Rylee came over tonight for dinner with our friends Meredith and Mo. Colin has learned a new sign because of Rylee! He can now say "doggy" through signing (patting your hand on your thigh as though you are calling the dog over). Colin enjoys Rylee, but usually only from a distance. He is definitely not a dog in your face kind of kid (which is good because Rylee is not an in your face kind of dog).
Colin's playing with his new favorite toy in the picture...his microphone!

Ahhhh, nice doggy...

Mooommmm, are you taking my picture again?!

Monday, October 25, 2010

Can you Hear me Now?

Oh! The phone is ringing!

Hello? Who's there?

Ummm, I said hello!

[colin sighs] I guess I'll just have to text daddy instead...

Oh phew, I got through to Daddy (the phone is just behind my ear instead of on it)...

Mooommmm, stop taking my picture!

Ok, I'll smile and be happy for you, but just this once!
These two pictures are just proof that Colin doesn't always want to do what I want to do. I was making him stand at his activity table and he showed me how much he didn't want to do that!

Sunday, October 24, 2010

Saturday, October 23, 2010


You know how you can hold most infants and they will put some pressure on their legs and stand up? Colin was never that kid. It's interesting to watch someone pick up Colin who is not a close friend or family member and realize that #1 he's not going to put his feet down to stand and #2, his body (torso) doesn't necessarily go rigid when you try to get him to stand either.
It seems as though something is "clicking" with him lately and he is making more attempts to stand, pull up and keep his feet down on the ground. It's still challenging, and he needs to be in the right place in order to do that. Colin's PT has been urging us to increase his standing time per session which we are trying to do, but he still gets that stubborness when he doesn't feel like doing it and he will literally lift his legs up off the ground. Wouldn't you expect that to be more challenging than just keeping your legs on the floor?
One game that Colin likes to play with me is "up!". I will take his hands while he is in a sitting position and say "1, 2, 3, Up!" and he will use his arms to pull up on me and stand. After a few seconds though, he likes to fall on me and get caught. This morning I got him to stand at his activity table while Mickey Mouse was on for a few minutes at a time.

This is Colin testing out his new toy box for his bedroom before I got the lid on...

...and while we were visiting friends tonight, Colin had a blast playing with their miniature piano! Piano star in the making? Look at the seriousness while playing!

Friday, October 22, 2010

Much Ado about Nothin

This post is a little bit of this and that and everything in between! Colin is just like any other little 18 month old boy...getting in trouble and keeping us on our toes. But, it's just like we like it!
Getting in trouble:
Colin received a "time out" yesterday at school for dumping other kids foods again. His teacher also told me that since he doesn't get in trouble as often, they don't always watch him like a hawk. However, once in awhile they will hear another little girl yelp, so they will look over and see Colin with a handful of their hair! Sheesh, what are we going to do with him?
Where Waldo?
As we clean up at the end of the day, we often find things in interesting places, or, we find them NOT as we left them.
Blocks in the entertainment system...

...which he was caught in the act doing...

...A soccer ball under the couch

...a puzzle piece underneath the ottoman

...a truck in the kitchen... decorations all over the place...
...and a block in between the chair and the ottoman...
Getting warm after his bath...

Loving his chocolate milk...



Posing for the camera...the little ham!

Does this ball fit in the ring?

And ending with a video of Colin drinking his chocolate milk!