Monday, February 28, 2011

Polar Bear Plunge Pictures

I am so thankful to Jorie for taking lots of pictures throughout the day since I was preoccupied with other things going on. Here is her album of pictures from the breakfast before the plunge and up to the plunge itself.

What a great day! (If the slideshow doesn't load the first time, try refreshing the page)

Click here to view these pictures larger

Sunday, February 27, 2011

The 2011 Special Olympics' Polar Bear Plunge

What a weekend we have had!

Yesterday, friends and family participated with Team CAT Crew in our 2nd annual Special Olympics of NJ Polar Bear Plunge! It was an amazing day as the winds died down, the rain stopped, and the sun was shining for "our" (I was not able to participate this year) plunge into the ocean.

Some facts about the day:
- Approximately 5,100 people plunged for the Special Olympics
- Approximately $1.5 million was raised and the number is STILL climbing!
- CAT Crew raised $32,656 so far because the number is STILL climbing with any donations that were given yesterday not accounted for yet!
- CAT Crew had more members than last year at 55!
- Water temp: 39 degrees
- Air temp: about the same

This year, plunge day was a bit different for me as I got to experience the plunge as a spectator. While I was extremely emotional last year with it being our first year and all, this year I got to hold Colin as our unified CAT Crew team jumped in together. The tears were flowing as I thought about our journey and how lucky Chris, Colin and I are to have family and friends and people that we had never met before that would do anything for us...INCLUDING jumping into the Atlantic Ocean on a 30-something degree day into 30-something degree water. Wow, what a legacy Colin has started...all because he was born with a little something extra.

On Friday and Saturday, Chris, Colin and I were interviewed for a local cable network show and we were asked about how Colin has brought us all together, how he has unified us all. It's amazing to feel this connected to people because OF him and all because he is just a little boy loving life right now. While in some instances, I have heard the diagnosis can separate people from friends and family, our little boy has brought us all closer together. People are on our team, they are a part of our team and they are fighting for our team...
...words could never truly express how thankful we are for all of this love and support for Colin. We are so blessed to have the family, friends (new and old), and cyber friends that we do because you all make this journey so special for us.
Thank you for a fantastic day CAT Crew! We love you! xoxoxox

Thursday, February 24, 2011

The Future...

...holds so much for us right now and I can't wait to see what is still yet to come. The past two weeks have been so much fun watching Colin change so fast and I just can't wait for all that we have yet to witness!

It's amazing how you feel so low when things aren't going well (feeding issues) and when they have their "quiet" periods where you don't see much changing and how high you feel when there is something new happening all of the time.

Colin decided it's time to start using his legs more often and he is pulling up to stand on everything....the toilet, the tub, the couch, his easel, us, etc and is even starting to cruise a little bit when he is motivated. We can now practice walking with him where we only have to hold his hands and he will bear all of his own body weight. It has been fun to watch him exploring this new territory!

Colin has also been showing us how his communication is improving. There are so many times in a day where I just can't help but smile because I realize just what he is comprehending or hear the new sound that he is making. He has so much to say, but just needs to connect what he is actually saying in his head to the correct sounds. He is still in the sophisticated babble stage (as you could see in past videos), however, little by little we hear correct sounds emerging.

Although the frustrations at feeding time are still there, they have gotten slightly better now that his most recent teething stage has passed for the time being. He is back to eating all of his same 5 foods, but he IS eating them and starting to take more and more control. We are still going to get the feeding assessment because he still isn't chewing (just munching) and I feel he has significant issues with textures but again, we are at least back to all being able to smile at meal time.

We are only a week and a half out from my due date and I can't wait to see what Colin is going to be like as a big brother. The anticipation is just killing me!

Monday, February 21, 2011

Me 'n My Buddy!

Yesterday, Colin got to spend time with his buddy Bennett!! The two of them are so cute together and it's fun because they are so close in age too. We always enjoy spending time with the whole family as Bennett's older sisters are so great with the boys! We are lucky to have found such great friends!

We all met at Surf Taco because they were having a great fundraiser for us! What they did was set up a date and then all we had to do was spread the word and pass around flyers to local friends and family. When anyone went to Surf Taco with the flyer, Surf Taco would donate 20% of the cost of the meal to CAT Crew and the Polar Bear Plunge ! We are so thankful for their support with this great deal! The boys are so similar when it comes to feeding challenges, so it was nice for me to be able to have someone there who was in a similar boat.

Afterwards we headed back to our house for play time!! It's so nice to be in this house now with a great big play room for the kids to run around and play in. At one point I looked over and Colin and Bennett were playing with a toy together quietly and it was just so cute!

The day went by so fast and as always, we had a wonderful time! I can't wait for the next play date!
Thanks Donovan family for a great day!! xoxo

For more super adorable pictures, head over to Adrienne's blog at Our Unexpected Journey.

She's got a much better camera than I do! :)

Saturday, February 19, 2011

What Language do you Think?

Colin had a LOT to say today...but if only I knew what! I think this means we are on the right track though...

The last video is our little dancing machine to his favorite song!

Wednesday, February 16, 2011

It's Happening!

One of my most favorite things about this journey we are on is how rewarding it is when you see things happening right in front of you...things that have taken so long to get to this point, but are starting to change. It reminds me of that part in Mary Poppins (a part I never really liked until now) where the winds start to switch because "change is in the air".

Although we still have major difficulties in the feeding department and the teeth issue has been a bit tough to take, there are so many other areas that are starting to change and it's so much fun to watch. Looking back in that 1st year, I was so impatient waiting for milestones to happen. Patience during development of a child with Down Syndrome is definitely something that needs to be learned (I am STILL learning that when it comes to feeding) but the rewards are so much sweeter when you can patiently wait for them to happen.

Colin's gross motor development has an "air of change" about it. He is willingly "creeping" (hands and knees) crawling all over the place, even on the hard wood floor which is more challenging. He is climbing like crazy on everything! He is pulling to stand so much more now. And the most exciting? He is starting to take steps (with help of course) where his body is upright and HE is bearing most of the weight (we are not having to support him as much). Although we are a ways away from walking, the change is so much fun to watch because he has worked SO HARD to get here.

We got a call from Colin's teacher today about a "boo boo" report because he was climbing/pulling to stand at the shelves and hit his forehead on the way down causing a small bruise. You know what's bad? I shrugged it off because I was so happy to hear he was climbing!

Then later today, Chris was putting laundry in the washer when Colin creeped over on hands and knees, pulled to stand at the laundry basket, and then climbed in!

And you know what? Life feels so much more refreshing when you can get outside for some fresh air!

And finally, some videos for your viewing pleasure. The first is Colin practicing his fine motor skills on our DVD player. We should probably be a bit more strict about this, but look at that pointer finger working hard!

And this second video is Colin's hard work paying off...step! step! step!

Monday, February 14, 2011

Medical Update

In the past month, Colin has been to three different doctors for check-ups with different things. The first was his 6 month check up at the Trisomy 21 clinic at CHOP which we went to a few weeks ago. I was hoping for some bigger answers when it came to the feeding issues, but they were so happy with his progress that they basically just said that since he is doing better than the last time he was here, just continue with what we are doing. The OT spent a good amount of time with him and she was really happy with his play and skills that he was demonstrating. I was really happy with the visit, but was hoping for a little bit more with the feeding. We don't need to follow up again until Colin is 3, so that was good news...

The second appointment was last week when we went to see Colin's pediatrician Dr. Uma. I had scheduled the appointment so we could check in with her, finish up his vaccinations, and get some scripts for things like feeding therapy assessment, orthodics, and discuss any weight issues. Well, she was a little unhappy because in the past 4 months, Colin has only gained 2 OUNCES. We were shocked because despite all of the weight issues when Colin was a newborn, this is the least amount of weight he has ever gained in that span of time. She did bring up a good point that he is much more active now, but would like to see him gaining more weight. She has us keeping track of his intake so that she can figure out a calorie total which brings me back to the months of keeping track of how many cc's and then ounces he was drinking of his formula. It makes me a bit stressed, but he looks like a healthy boy and so we will continue with what we are doing, even if it IS frustrating.

Finally, we were off to see the urologist today regarding Colin's "retractable" testicle (which seems to be better now) as well as his circumcision. We never felt that it was done correctly the first time because he has always had excess skin and at times, it appears as though it wasn't actually done. The urologist felt that after giving it a year, it wasn't going to be changing so our only option to fix the problem would be a circumcision revision. This procedure is of course optional, since circumcisions are elective from the beginning. We chose a circumcision for a reason which includes hygiene issues as well as appearance issues. It's a scary though to put Colin under anesthesia for something that is elective, but I have to say that I am drawn to fixing it for many reasons. Everyone has their own reasons for why or why not they may not circumcise their children, so I apologize if I offend anyone, but I feel that Colin is going to face so many circumstances because he is different, that I don't want this to be one more. It's ironic because this is something that has nothing to do with Trisomy 21, yet we have to make a decision anyway.

We discussed with the doctor our fears about the anesthesia, and he said that Colin really isn't at any more increased risk that any other child his age because he has always been very healthy. It would be a short procedure and one that if we decide to do, should be done by the time he is 2 because it becomes more painful the older a child gets. So, we have a lot to decide and I'm not sure which direction we will go. The only thing that makes me pause about making this decision is putting Colin under so that will be significantly weighed into our decision.

To leave you on a fun is Colin "chatting with Daddy"...

Friday, February 11, 2011


Colin got to spend some time with his THREE great-grandparents recently. He is so lucky to have so many grandparents in his life from great, to regular, to pseudo!

Looking at pictures with Great-Grammy...

So happy to spend time together!

Snuggling in with Great-Poppy and Great-Grandma...

...having a fun day!

Isn't he lucky? :)

Thursday, February 10, 2011

Gettin' There

Our poor little boy has had a rough few days between not sleeping from the tooth explosion and the cold/congestion he has been fighting. His face looks like he's been through a battle from goop and snot and wiping his nose so many times and red cheeks but he's getting better. Chris stayed home from work until I got home with him yesterday and then last night he finally slept through the night which was a blessing in disguise for us. Today, we kept him home again, this time with Nana and Granddad who also gave us a blessing by cleaning the house and making us dinner (thank you :)

Looking forward to getting our happy and healthy little boy back!

Tuesday, February 8, 2011

My Poor Baby

Remember those adorable pictures from yesterday (taken on Sunday)? Well, look at these sad, sad pictures today...

Our poor little guy is suffering from a tooth explosion. He hasn't been himself for the past week or so now, and for the past 4 days straight (maybe more), he has been up most of the night. He's got a bit of a cough, so when he cries, he coughs, which makes him cry more and it becomes a sick cycle. I picked him up from school today and he just seemed a bit bummy. I bring him in the house, put him in the family room while I carry in the rest of the stuff and get changed and today, when I came back in, he was just laying on the floor resting his head on his hands. He looked pitiful. For Colin to just lay there like that, you know he isn't feeling well.
I brought him over to the couch so we could snuggle together and watch Ellen and he proceeded to cry for almost 45 minutes. I almost started crying because he was inconsolable! I just feel so bad and I will admit that I am not used to this. We have been extremely grateful because Colin has been very healthy since birth (barely even a cold) and this is probably the MOST we have been up at night since we used to have to wake HIM up when he was a newborn.
But, shortly after Daddy came home, and after he had his dinner while watching Mickey (yes, I am a pushover lol) he started to perk up a bit. Lets hope for a little boy who feels much better tomorrow!

Monday, February 7, 2011

Cute Can be Found Here

I think the cute in this post is pretty self explanatory...if I must say so myself ;)

Sunday, February 6, 2011

CAT Crew Dubliner Fundraiser

Colin is so lucky to have so many friends and family members who are willing to do anything for him. For the 2nd year in a row, we have a strong CAT Crew team in honor of Colin who are all raising money for the Special Olympics of NJ by participating in the Polar Bear Plunge. It's amazing to me how many people (50 people so far!) who are willing to take a plunge in the icy waters of the Atlantic ocean for such a great cause.
To raise money, our team members are asking for donations, are holding fundraisers, selling t-shirts, and having events like "jeans days" at their respective places of employment. First, Aunt Beth had the "Flapjack Fundraiser" at Applebees 2 weeks ago which raised just over $1,000 and then yesterday, Uncle Pat had a fundraiser at the Dubliner in Galloway, NJ which raised over $700!

We had a great time yesterday and we are so grateful to Uncle Pat and Aunt Kristine for getting everything organized and for creating baskets that raised a lot of money as a Chinese Auction/raffle. Special thanks to the workers and owner of the Dubliner who allowed us to have this event for our team. We are so appreciative to ALL of you who show your love for our little boy by these little things that you are doing...

...this little boy wasn't feeling the greatest yesterday with his teeth bothering him, but he was still as cute as ever and represented CAT Crew well!

Self-portrait with my little guy who was pretty clingy with me yesterday (can't say I don't mind!) but I am much more used to him being more than willing to go to anyone...

These were the kinds of looks I was getting while trying to take pictures yesterday...I guess he just wasn't feeling me with the camera...

Yup, here's that face again!

Thanks Uncle pat for such a great day!

Thursday, February 3, 2011

A Tad of This and That

This post is a random compilation of different things from the past week, which hasn't been the easiest, but as always, we are surviving...

The feeding issue spiraled downward to a meltdown on all parties involved, however, I am starting to come to the conclusion that this recent bout of horribleness is related to the fact that there are molars popping through all over the place in Colin's mouth. He hasn't been wanting to eat anything (including Daddy's ice cream cake...shocking!), he's been spitting up a lot, and he really hasn't been himself (biting, hitting, spitting, etc.). Considering the fact that it's molars coming through, I can imagine how painful it must be. So, I have regrouped today and been more patient through all the spitting at dinner time and disciplined as needed, but "kept my cool". We did decide at dinner last night that it's time to try something new, so we are going to go and getting another feeding assessment done at a place recommended by our speech therapist. I've been reading a book that's been helpful, but I need to feel like we are trying something more. Even more importantly, I think it's time for us to try and control the stress we have been feeling and therefore exhibiting. I can't imagine THAT helps very much either. I am also very grateful to Kelly at My Little Son-Shine for a conversation that has made me feel so much better...

Last night, we had dinner out to celebrate Chris' 35th birthday party. Colin wasn't interested in dinner, but we still had a good time nonetheless.

Colin and I had a fun night of all play and no stress...he even had me crawling on the floor with him! Can you imagine a 9 month prego girl crawling on the floor (it MUST have been a site!)? He loves his farm and peering through the little hole in the side.

Look at him go on all fours!

Self-portrait with my little cutie :)

Peering through the hole again...

He's getting this crawling thing down!

How do you say no to a boy who crawls over to the TV on all fours and tries to push buttons when Mickey stops? I am laughing just writing this because he is a boy who knows what he wants!

When I put Colin in bed tonight, facing the opposite direction than the way I normally face him, he sat up, shifted and layed down with the way he NORMALLY faces...littles stinker.
And finally, a few videos for your viewing pleasure...
Colin's work with fine motor skills has been quickly improving. Here's a video from this morning of Colin working with his OT on his pincer grip.

Look at him go with his gross motor skills!! It's coming together, it really is :)

Tuesday, February 1, 2011

Happy Birthday Chris/Daddy!!

Happy 35th Birthday Chris/Daddy!!

We hope you have the best day! We love you so much so we decided to show you in 35 ways...

Colin's got the odds...and I've got the evens!

1. C: I love the way you make me smile and get excited when you walk in the door!

2. K: I love the way you rub my head at night to help me fall asleep, no matter how tired you are.

3. C: I love the way you play with the basketball with make me laugh so hard!

4. K: I love how you take care of our family and how you want to spend time with us!

5. C: I love the way you sit with me in the morning to watch Mickey Mouse.

6: K: I love how you do silly things to cheer me up (Oh. my. God. my book!)

7. C: I love how you check on me so many times at night...and give me one. last. kiss. before you get in bed.

8. K: I love how you leave me sweet notes on the dry erase board.

9. C: I love how you loved me from the very beginning, even when you found out I was a little bit different than you expected.

10. K: I love how you always remember the date we first hung out and our wedding anniversary every month and say Happy 27 or Happy 15!

11. C: I love how you dance all silly with me even if someone is watching.

12. K: I love how you take care of all of the laundry, so particularly.

13. C: I love how you cheer for me every time I do something great.

14. K: I love how supportive you have been through my old career, getting my Masters degree, and then switching to teaching (even when planning lessons took me away from you!)

15. C: I love how you stay at school a few minutes longer and watch me from the window when you drop me off to make sure I am ok.

16. K: I love how you scoop me ice cream and poor me juice every night that you are home.

17. C: I love how you sit with me on the floor and play with me every night before bed.

18. K: I love how you talk to my tummy to let the baby know you are there.

19. C: I love how you teach me how to do new things!

20. K: I love how you make my coffee every morning for me, BEFORE you have to make a new pot for yourself.

21. C: I love how you tell me not to give up when I get frustrated when I can't do something...that's going to make me such a good person!

22. K: I love how you have found a way to BE with us when you get home and not have to do work that often...

23. C: I love how you you are really disappointed when you can't come to one of my doctors appointments.

24. K: I love how you send me updates during Colin's therapy every day so I know exactly what I am missing.

25. C: I love how you hug me and squeeze me so that I always know how much you love me.

26. K: I love how you rub my feet or legs when I have had a really long day, especially when it isn't returned as often.

27. C: I love how you work really hard with me to say certain sounds, especially mommy.

28. K: I love how your family comes first, no matter what.

29. C: I love how you kiss me on the cheek!

30. K: I love how you are so patient with Colin as he learns how to do things.

31. C: I love how you always make me work hard, but you always make it fun too!

32. K: I love how you do whatever it takes to make me feel better sometimes.

33. C: Most of all, I love how much you love me. I will never ever question that...

34. K: Most of all, I love how much you love me...I will never ever question that...

35. C & K: We love that you are a part of our lives!

Happy Birthday!!! xoxoxoxoxxoxoxox

There's Always a Positive

Ok, so I cried tonight...but really only because I had a long day, I was tired, and Colin biting my face hit my breaking point. He then proceeded to spit out every bite of dinner that he ate with no problem last night. He didn't want his milk. And then, he kept spitting over, and over, and over again...He wanted to hit his head on the wall when I was putting his pajamas on (another common thing these days). So, I cried, because I just couldn't control it anymore today. What made me cry harder was actually feeling bad that I was upset with him for doing all of these things...I guess it's just one of those days because there is always a bright side to everything right?

There ARE bright sides, I can assure you of this...feeding may be horrible these days, but he is doing so well in other areas.

...he's standing more and more...

...he's climbing like crazy! We don't have stairs in our house (we were visiting in this picture), but we set up makeshift stairs with the couch cushions and he climbs so great!

...he's crawling on hands and knees more and more...

...he's doing more IN a standing position...

...and he is making more attempts to take a step (although he hasn't quite figured it out yet) from side to side towards cruising. as Chris always says to me, tomorrow is another day!