Thursday, September 11, 2014

It's official, we have TWO TEENS!!!!

Tristin Rose, today you turn 17.  As your mom I am seeing a beautiful transformation happening from my little girl to my beautiful young lady.  You are seeking your independance way to fast for me, yet I know you must spread your wings and learn to fly.  I love seeing the artistic passion you display when you do a drawing or pastel.  I love seeing you step up and do adult tasks like calling to make your own doctors appointment, deciding where to order dinner and then making order, working at Hanzely's Nursery and Garden Center and interacting with customers.  Your beautiful inside and out.  I am saddened that this is your last year as my "child" and I know your looking forward to turning 18 to "get out of here", but you will ALWAYS be my baby girl, my little pookey bear.  I love you more than words can I tear up again (boy you make me do this alot lately).  Praying God blesses you with a fantastic year.

Camille Sage, today you turn 13... THIRTEEN...what??!!! another teeneager in the household, how will I survive it?  You have changed both in appearance and in maturity this past year.  What a difference a year makes at this age.  Your compassionate heart continues to grow with you and your amazing gift of being a caregiver to your younger brothers amazes me.  I can still envision you being four years old and lifting up your 4# little brother Caleb freshly home from the NICU and saying "I will take care of him mama".  You have never let me down with that.  I see confidence building in you that wasn't there before, I see a comedian side of you coming out that cracks me up, I see you will always give me a twist and turn where I thought I knew the road ahead already, I see myself being proud of you down whatever road you take.  Love you Girl!!

Each year on this day I still mourn for the families who lost everything in the 9-11 attacks, but I also praise God for blessing our family TWICE on this particular date.  We will always have reason to celebrate but still honor this day as one that will never be forgotten.  

Psalm 127:3-5New King James Version (NKJV)

Behold, children are a heritage from the Lord,
The fruit of the womb is a reward.
Like arrows in the hand of a warrior,
So are the children of one’s youth.
Happy is the man who has his quiver full of them;
They shall not be ashamed,
But shall speak with their enemies in the gate.

Monday, September 8, 2014

We just want a place to fit in.... MattyBRaps new Video True Colors

I sat and watched this video on a friends Facebook wall.  I knew it was going to be good because I like MattyBRaps and I have followed his journey since I found out he has a beautiful sister with an extra special chromosome like my identical twins Caleb and Isaac have.

When I saw the song was a remix of Cyndi Laupers song True Colors I was even more excited to watch the video.  I was able to see Cyndi Lauper a few years before the twins arrived and she was a great performer and still one of my favorite "oldies but goodies".

Watch the video and then play it again and read my commentary:

The following lyrics really stood out to me....I played this song over and over again and I'll be honest I had tears flowing.  We have had the twins on the playground and the same scene happened, kids looked at them and got up and very obviously moved to a different part of the playground.  We have had children rudely tell the twins to shut up and quit making those loud noises.  We also have had one incident where a child pushed one of the twins because "he was retarded and shouldn't be allowed to play there".  So YES these words really hit the spot for me as their parent, YES these words are heartfelt towards other parents raising children with special needs, YES these are words worth sharing to help advocate for children like mine.  Down Syndrome, Autism, ADHD.... not words I ever dreamed would consume my life and world and yet create a passion to learn about these words non-stop.  I happily state that I give all Glory to God for allowing me the opportunity to open my heart and mind to learn about these words; Down Syndrome, Autism, ADHD..  I know there are so many other disabilities and diseases out there that I do not understand or know inside and out like I do my own children's disabilities but I sure know one thing for sure, the children ALL WANT LOVE, the children ALL WANT RESPECT, the children all deserve acceptance that it wasn't them that determined they would be different or sick.  Read these words and T H I N K, reflect on how you can personally open your heart and mind a little more and help out a family in some small way, even just opening up a casual conversation at the playground while your children play together.  Show them your "True Colors and How Beautiful Like a Rainbow" they are!!

We get uncomfortable when someone else is DIFFERENT

and it presses us to be open to change

mistreated not because of fashions that you've taken on or a terrible mistake but Hated on Because of your DNA.

It's never doin harm until it feels unfair and then we speak up but wonder why no one else cares

If we're honest inside.. and really wanted to right.. judging other for something they have no control of might be comical at times, but that might make me less of a man, the biggest thing I think is standing as a leader instead.

Imagine life without the boundaries we create with our pride and opportunities we lose because we judge from inside

The truth is that we are all equal and the answer is LOVE!!!

I'll admit I am still a work in progress myself, I still lose my tongue sometimes around other families with children with special needs not knowing what to say, but I can tell you a never fail conversation opener... you ready for it??!!... "Your child is so beautiful" "Tell me about him/her".

Thank you MattyBRaps for advocating for your little sister and for other children like her.  For opening up hearts and minds to at least being able to understand why they are different and how they are the same.

You don't have to go far to read terrible comments that people with Down Syndrome hear all the time.  Read the comments under the YouTube video posted above, its got to stop and it has to start somewhere.  Please share this blog if its touched you and leave a comment, I want to hear from people reading my blog!!!


Morning Photo Routine Continues

Nothing like having my twins put a smile on my face each morning with their cute little routine that has just started with this new school year.  After taking tons of photos the first day of school they figure that is how each school day should start.  I just have to budget a few extra minutes each day before bus comes but other than that this is a great part of the day that I hope lasts for awhile.

So I started with the usual:

Isaac using his skills to try to open door
(Thankfully he can't YET)

Caleb posing like the ham he is

Today they both wanted the limelight and were pretty much fighting to get close to the phone camera, actually too close>  I have to admit I like their way of taking photos better.  Anyone know how to take the glare off their glasses so bad?  I know, I know, don't stand right next to a window...LOL  got that:

My Favorite

Once the pushing and shoving to get into mommy's camera had stopped Isaac hit the record button, I love what we got with that:

How can I say I have it rough with these two little chipper boys?  Somedays they are not so chipper and more active that I am, but its these moments that bring the most joy.  Now off to an emergency dentist appointment to fix a tooth that gave me a long painful weekend.  Good Day to ya!!

Thursday, August 28, 2014


Yesterday was day 2 of school for the year.  Caleb was so adorable when I was about to put him on the bus.  He stopped abruptly turned around and waved to me, then he signed "Picture..Pink..Phone...Mama".  Caleb is so very much into routine and the first day of school I took tons of photos and he expected I was going to do it on day 2.  I didn't have my phone on me and promised I would take it tomorrow, and he sure did not forget..

So here he is:

and then after I took this one Caleb insisted that I get one of him and Isaac.  Bus was already in driveway and I was hurrying so photo is blurry but still super cute:

I have a feeling I will be taking lots of back to school photos this year :)

Tuesday, August 26, 2014

Back to School - Bawled like a baby... I DID!!!

I have to admit I have yet to EVER cry on the first day of school.. Usually I am certainly sad to see summer break end but relieved to finally be able to tackle the housework and try to get ahead of laundry with kids off at school.  I have been taking photos of my kids with signs stating the grade they were entering way before Facebook.. Tristin is a junior and I have her kindergarten photo :)

WAIT... WAIT... Tristin is a Junior.. That is what teared me up and made me cry uncontrollably this morning.  As I'm watching my kiddos make their traditional first day of school poster I reflect on taking Tristin's photo as an excited Kindergartener about to be homeschooled. Now today I watch a gorgeous young lady still scribbling on paper at mommy's request so I can always remember what grade she is going into and what year it was.  (I am already predicting my forgetful mind wondering what year photo was taken and what grade she would have been in)

Then I looked at my Camille who has definitely blossomed this summer and has taken the lead in being the tallest sibling.  She passed up Tristin by a whole inch already!  She only has a few days until she turn into a mouthy know it all teenager, and I think she's had enough practice this summer to already master it on her birthday!!

Elijah is in the MIDDLE SCHOOL!!  Whhaaatttt???? My middle child is in the middle school?  He is actually pretty excited and laid back about it.  The girls both seemed nervous and concerned about meeting new people and making all new friends, Elijah has no worries and he is ready. Last night as girls were picking out their first day of school outfits here is how our conversation went:
Elijah: "Why do girls have to do that mom?"
Me: "To be prepared for their first day"
Elijah: "I'm just going to throw on the first thing I can grab in the morning"
.. That's my Boy!

And finally, the twins are entering 2nd grade.  They participate in the Autistic Support classroom in our public school.  Having children in a special education classroom can be and just plain ole IS stressful.  I am hoping for a better year for them and plan on taking a more active role in their education.  They deserve the best and I pray that God leads me to help them get that.  When I told them that they were gong back to school today and riding the bus to go see their friends they both signed "NO!".  I always say they are the mouthiest non-verbal kids I know...LOL

Now off to canning my garden goodies.  Today's agenda.... Salsa!!!  Have a Great Day Kids!!

Tuesday, July 29, 2014

Child of the Month x2

It was an honor to be asked by a local organization who helps us financially with some gas money for our frequent road trips to Children's Hospital in Pittsburgh to write a little story on the twins to share on their website.  Caring and Sharing for Kids truly has been an amazing blessing to our family and many many more like mine.  It all started from local people who have golden hearts and wanted to find a way to help local families raising children with special needs in any way they could.  Please take a minute and check out their website and if your ever looking for a worthy cause to donate to I can guarantee this is a great organization.

Click Here to the LINK to our story!

Thursday, July 3, 2014

Hand, Mouth, Foot Disease...No 4th of July Picnic (pun intended)

Seems our family just can't catch a break so far this summer.. OH WAIT, that has been our family for the past four years LOL! On Saturday we went to the Wykoff family reunion. The Wykoff's are my side of the family and we don't get to see any of them other than at reunions or on Facebook.. Love Facebook for that :)

 When we got home around 9pm Isaac seemed to have broken out in a blistery rash on his hands and bottoms of his feet that we didn't notice all day long. He had this weird rashy thing on his diaper area that started Friday but I figured it was from the hot weather and wasn't to concerned. Now that it had spread, it was concerning, and I took him into the ER Saturday night only to find that he has Hand, Mouth, Foot Disease (HMFD). They basically said there was nothing to do as it's a virus and told me to give Benedryl as needed for itching. Told me it was very contagious and to be careful with siblings.... With that being said I KNEW CALEB WOULD BE NEXT!!! There always seems to be this twin competition they have going when they get illness, who can get sicker??!!

 Fast forward to Tuesday, Isaac was breaking out even worse so I called pediatrician and they said to bring him in just to make sure it was HFMD. The appointment was at 10am, as I was bathing boys to get them ready to take in I noticed Caleb was getting some bumps so I figured might as well have him looked at while we were at doctors office. Upon inspection it was confirmed that boys both had HMFD and we were sent home to ride it out. Today, July 3rd, Day Six of Isaacs outbreak he looks better but still developing a few new blisters.. Day Three for Caleb and he wins the twin competition hands down. He is broke out with more than double or triple the blisters Isaac has and he looks horrible. There is no fever present in either twin and blisters are located in way more places than just their Hands, Mouth and Feet. Bumps are on elbows, knees, ears, lower belly, legs and back of neck. Their bodies are not covered but there are bumps everywhere.... How about I show some photos:
Both boys acting normally, no fevers and eating/drinking well. So for us its just looking at all those ugly bumps for a few days, OH... and staying away from any family events going on this weekend here on the farm. Did I mention that this weekend is the Bi-Annual Hanzely family reunion? Lots and Lots of family members come from several different states. Lots and Lots of new babies I have not even met yet and family I haven't seen in years... Boo Hoo to us I guess. But as awful as this situation is for us there are just things that the boys do that melt my heart and make me realize how very lucky we are to have these beautiful boys in our family. Look at how I found them sleeping this afternoon:

Did you notice how they were sleeping holding hands?? Thank you Lord for that refreshing moment to see just how blessed we are.  Always Always seek out the positive in each moment.