Sunday, September 29, 2013

Little Beck-A-Roo

Our little Beck-A-Roo is 7!! 

September 23, 2006. On the morning of Beck's birthday I was stepping into our bathtub to open the blinds when I slipped and hit my belly on the tub. It was a pretty big bump and at that moment I thought "I won't be surprised if I go into labor." Sure enough an hour or so later my water broke. I literally popped my belly and there was no other choice but to head to the hospital to have baby #2. I was so nervous!! Although this wasn't my first rodeo it had been 5 1/2 years since I had Cole. The thought of starting over was worrisome and the thought of another 36 hour labor was horrific. I had been told that with each baby labor is usually cut in half but even the thought of 18 hours was frightening. This baby was a surprise so although I was terrified, I was excited to find out, boy or girl?? Secretly I was hoping for another boy but of course it didn't matter. All I knew was that I was LARGE and so was this baby and it was time to rope this bronco. During my pregnancy my doctor even questioned if I was only having one because I was always measuring big. Cole had said at one point, before I was pregnant "Mommy, when you have a baby, you are going to have two." So there were times when I wondered if there were two and if their hearts were just beating as one (my doctor did give me that possibility). But it turned out there was only one, very husky, baby foal boy! I was able to have a natural birth and ONLY labored for 12 hours, not 18, PHEW! And luckily I didn't have to push very long because the force of Beck's big noggin prevailed. Apparently Beck was blue when he entered this world but I had no idea. My sweet husband didn't want me to worry so he kept his game face on, smiling, even though he was worried. Within minutes he was breathing and crying and soon enough all was well. Beck weighed a whopping 8 lbs. 15 oz. He was a brute!! A beautiful, wide eyed, Charlie Brown noggin, brute!

September 23, 2013. His birthday was just another manic Monday for sure. He woke up to his room being covered in toilet paper. He got breakfast in bed, opened gifts and finally got the WWE championship belt that he has always wanted. I also brought him McD's for lunch at school and he got sprayed with silly string as he got off the bus after school. We celebrated that night by going out to dinner at Cafe Rio then for ice cream at Leatherby's. He also had hockey practice in between the festivities. On Friday he had his party with his friends. He had a Movie Night Party where his friends came dressed in their PJ's and watched a movie. We even had a concession stand set up where the kids could buy treats and drinks (with poker chips ha ha, the dollar store was out of fake money). Remind me next year that wild crazy boys and open cans of pop don't mix but thank heaven for hardwood floors and tile. They had a little dance party before the movie which included a Conga line, a pillow-pet pillow fight, then watched Hotel Transylvania. Beck was in his element, having a ball and everyone else had a good time! (He even had a friend who lost a tooth, literally. I had him put it in his popcorn bag and at the end of the night during cleanup it accidentally got thrown away.) Because of it I have a new saying, it's no longer "finding a needle in a haystack" it's "finding a tooth in a popcorn bag." It took a while but we found it. Very exciting stuff!

The moment I saw Beck's face, 7 years ago, I could see that he was going to be my mischievous, cheeky little monkey! My little curious George! He has the biggest brown eyes and always has a look of "Huh?" "What?" "Who me?" Those big browns get him into a lot of mischief but also melts many hearts! Beck was named after my Grandma Joy (my dad's mother). Her maiden name was Beck and we felt that it was a perfect/unique name. He is definitely unique and one of a kind. He lights up any room he enters and lights up our lives! He is always the life of the party and was born ready to have fun! I knew from the size of my belly that this baby was going to be "big". There is nothing little about Beck and we love his "big" head personality! He's a rootin' tootin' barrel of laughs, our little Beck-A-Roo!

September 23, 2006
Would you look at the size of my belly?!?
Look at the size of him! It was like giving birth to a toddler.
Can you see the look of relief? 
Lutkin, party of 4!
"Look into my eyes! I will control you with my eyes!"

From day one Cole was taking his big brother responsibilities very serious. 

Cole's expressions are too cute for words. He was destined to be the best big bro ever! 

""Huh?, What? Who me?"

It's hard not to resist his Junior Mint eyes. They're just too delicious!

September 23, 2013
Breakfast in bed.
So exciting! What is it?
Woo hoo! WWE championship belt. Oh ya!

September 27, 2013
Movie Night Party

The "Lost" Tooth amigo.
Happy 7th Birthday Cheeky Chops!

Thursday, September 26, 2013

Abandoned By The Riverside

Running from November 1-December 31 each year, the Christmas Angel Tree is Reece's Rainbow's most important fundraiser.

In only seven years, more than 1200+ children with Down syndrome and other special needs have found their "forever families". The vast majority of this funding comes from our Angel Tree Project each year. When you donate $35 or more you will receive a beautiful photo ornament of your sponsored child to hang on your tree. The theme for 2013 is "CHOSEN" because each one of the Reece's Rainbow children who have been adopted was CHOSEN! This is a very special way the "share" Christmas with an orphaned child, and it's a very personal and meaningful GIFT IDEA for every one on your list. These are great for friends and family, but also for teachers, therapists, caregivers, doctors, etc. Even if you do not celebrate Christmas, our gift cards make wonderful Hanukkah, Kwanzaa, or any other seasonal celebration. International sponsors are welcome through Paypal. 

I have commmitted to be an Angel Tree warrior for a very special child and hope to raise at least $1000 for his adoption grant during the upcoming holiday season. May I introduce to you my Reece's Rainbow Christmas Angel Tree Recipient.

Born December 2008


Down Syndrome

From a missionary who visited with him: "Sean was found abandoned by the riverside at the age of 4 months. Sean is doing super and is well loved by his nannies."

Update from 2012: "After his rehabilitation we feel his physical development is very good, he can clearly call father and mother, can sit alone, stand alone, can walk with holding something. He can not walk alone steadliy, can feed himself snacks without help, good appetite, likes playing with other children sitting on the floor, occasionally he will challenge his favorite toys with other children. He is very favorable and we hope he can find a family sooner to have parents to love him to live a happier life."

More photos available along with full social history and medical records.

Single moms permitted, only one parent has to travel.

$4171.50 available towards his adoption.  

This year I was hoping to be an Angel Tree warrior for another child who resides in Sara's orphanage. (Those kids will always have a special place in my heart.) Unfortunately the one that I chose is not available for adoption at this time so I wasn't able to. As I scrolled through the pages of the waiting children deciding on who I would choose, I came across beautiful Sean and knew immediately that he was the one. I realized that he has been listed with Reece's Rainbow as long as I have known about Reece's Rainbow, almost 3 years ago. I remember his sweet face and his profile that read "abandoned by the riverside". He was one of the many who pulled at my heart strings. He was one of the many faces who inspired me to take action. He will be turning 5 in December and should be starting Kindergarten next fall. He has waited 5 years too long for someone to come forward and make him part of their family. Comparing his infant picture where he had a little chub to now, he is teeny tiny. And look at his eyes! His eyes speak volumes!! He needs a home and needs one quick!! Will you please help me reach the $1000 goal and donate to Sean's grant? You are welcome to do it now but in order to receive an ornament with his picture on it, you must donate between November 1-December 31. 

I know we are still one month away from the official start of the Angel Tree, but I had to share Sean now to plant the seed. As the holiday season approaches and you are looking for ways to help someone less fortunate, please consider helping Sean. Remember $35 or more and you will receive and ornament with Sean's picture on it. I ask that not only do you donate to his grant but that you will also share his story, his pic, because you never know who will see it. It just may be his mommy or daddy! That is my ultimate wish, that he will find his family during this Angel Tree Project! He may have been abandoned by the riverside at the age of 4 months but he can be found by his forever family now and you can help! Together we can make a difference. Click here to help!

Sunday, September 22, 2013

Just Keep Swimming

As summer was coming to an end and back to school was just around the corner I was both sad and relieved. Sad because I felt like we didn't do much and I still wanted more days to play with my babies, but relieved that soon life was going to be back to "normal". Our summer was made up of odd activities, no trips, no vacations, just random fun. On the last day of school/first day of summer we went to the zoo with Grandma and Papa. (My dad loves the zoo!) Then we hosted a "Schools Out For Summer, 6th Grade Graduation" bash. After that we had lots of lazy days, an occasional visit to the water park and pool, bike rides, dr. and therapy appointments, home renovations, Foster Care Foundation Chalk Art Festival, weekends in Midway with Grandma and Papa, campfires, Bruno Mars concert, Lagoon, a day on the lake, a few visits to a splash pad park, picnics and bar b q's, 4th of July parade, Pioneer Day celebration, and soccer, soccer, and more soccer (Cole had 3 tournaments in August). I was also able to spend a few days in Denver with some of my besties, attending the National Down syndrome Convention while Mark took the kids to the Hill Aerospace Museum. Hmmm, Denver or museum? (I think Mark got the short end of the stick.) I also spent 2 days attending my 20 year high school reunion. And although it was certainly not a highlight, I had the privilege to speak and sing at my Grandma Mary's funeral. (So blessed that she was back here in Utah so we could spend her last days with her.) So although I felt like we had a "boring" summer when I see it in writing, I think we did enough. I didn't feel too guilty that we didn't go away because we had already had our family vacay in February, visiting Disneyland. It's a tradition that when our kids turn 4 we take them to the "Happiest Place On Earth". Last August when Kate turned 4 we were in the midst of rescuing our Ukrainian princess so that trip was put on hold. Instead, Kate was able to spend her 4 1/2 birthday at Goofy's Kitchen.

Well we're 3 weeks into the new school year and it feels good to be back in the saddle again, back in the swing of things. It's just too bad that homework has to be part of it, that and laundry. 2 of my least favorite things! This year was a really BIG year for us. We have one who started Jr. High, one who started first grade which means that he is gone all day, and one who started Kindergarten. We also  have one who may start preschool soon but we're just waiting to see if he qualifies for an early childhood education program. Several huge milestones and with those milestones came many tears but I am happy to see my children progressing and enjoying life. Cole is still playing soccer and is 3 games into the fall season. (2 wins and a tie.) He started playing competitive soccer at the age of 8. He played with the same club until this summer when he made the switch to another. He is really enjoying it, loves his coach (a big reason why he switched to this club) and is making new friends. He is also learning to play the violin at school and started taking private guitar lessons. Beck just started a hockey program after months and months of asking to play hockey. And Kate is taking ballet for the first time and loving it! My husband is also in the *bishopric in our ward so he is busy too. *Here's a little Mormon tidbit; a bishop is a leader of a local congregation (known as a ward) in our church. His duties are similar to those of a pastor, priest, or rabbi. Each bishop is assisted by two counselors and together they oversee the spiritual and social needs needs of their ward members. My husband is the first counselor in our bishopric. So there is no doubt that we are busy. Are there some days when I wish we were still enjoying our "boring" summer? Yes! And are there some days when I feel like I am drowning? Yes! But I wouldn't change it for the world.

Instead a writing separate posts for each event we did this past summer and last month, I am going to share pics of all of them right here, right now. Don't get me wrong, each event is worthy of it's own post, I just need to simplify. As long as it's documented it's enough to support my "Dory" mind. Have you ever played the game, "What Disney character most describes you?" Well my family says that I am like Dory from Finding Nemo. I am a good hearted, optimistic fish with short term memory. I forget a lot!! If I don't write things down or keep a journal, which is something I started and finished 20 years ago, I will not remember the happenings of my life. This blog, as long as I keep writing should help. As  my life seasons change I am often reminded that "This too shall pass". I must enjoy what each season brings because tomorrow the wind will change. I am also reminded to "Just keep swimming, just keep swimming, just keep swimming, swimming, swimming. What do we do? We swim, swim."

Just keep swimming

Zoo Day with Papa and Grandma.
So long 6th grade.
"School's Out For Summer" bash in our backyard!!!

Lazy days of summer.

Seven Peaks Waterpark.
Torturous Fun Bike ride to the Maverick to get ice-cream and slushies .

Home renovations (tile and backsplash) in progress.

Tile projects done.
Operation Wood Floors and Stairs.

Sidewalk Chalk Festival sponsored by the Utah Foster Care Foundation.
Our lives have been blessed with Liam because of foster care.
A creek runs through it. My parent's home (property) in Midway. 

Bruno Baby!

Lagoon Amusement Park for Kate's birthday. 
Boating on Deer Creek Reservoir.

Mark and Beck both on the wakeboard. Kate got up with him too but no pics darn it, just video.  I love their "no fear" attitudes! 

Eeeek! We love being on the water!

Splash Pad Park with one of my High School BFs Debbie and her littles.  

Same splash pad park for Kate's party.
Pool with friends! (You may recognize Jaymi (Victoria on Reece's Rainbow).

Water babies!
"I'm proud to be an American!" Sara's first 4th of July. 
Murray parade with another BF Heather and her family, our annual tradition.
Fireworks and picnic with my bros and mom and dad.

Fireworks and snow cones with friends! 24th of July, Pioneer Day Celebration.


And more soccer!

Silver Medal at the Adidas Cup! Yay Inter FC Utah!

National Down syndrome Convention in Denver.
Modeling our Talk Tools!
These women inspire me and make me laugh! We all have adopted children with Down syndrome! My UT21 Soul Sistas!
We had an amazing time! 
While the cat's away...

.....the mice will play!
Mark ventured out with the kids while I was in Denver.
Hill Aerospace Museum.
20 Year High School Reunion
I've known these girls (Heather, Ali, Amy, Tiffani, Lorielle) since 1989 when I moved here from Texas! It really wasn't a reunion for us because we meet up every month and still have sleepovers but it was fun to be back together at our old stomping ground. Friends forever!!
My Madrigal buds! Jake and Barb! Fa, la, la, la, la!!
Heather and me. Has it really been 20 years since graduation?
C-O-T-T-O-N-W-O-O-D! Gooooo Colts!

Weenie roast up Big Cottonwood Canyon.
Pretty ballerina!
Pretty ballerina with her BFF's.
"One tough guy, ready to play hockey!"

Phew! That was a lot of pics! Yeah, I'm pretty sure we do enough!! And we'll continue to just keep swimming!