Friday, October 31, 2008

Look what they've done with me now!

It's so hard being little! My family calls me goofy nicknames, they pick me up and take me wherever they want to go, and no one ever asks my opinion about anything--- even though I have a lot of good points to make! I just go along with all of it and try to be patient. But, now they've gone too far! Look at me!

They've put me in clothes to make me look like Charlie Brown! And!...................

They dressed me up to be a scarecrow! What's that thing on top of my head anyway?! Would someone please come over and rescue me?! Grandmas, get over here quick! They've lost their minds!

Tuesday, October 28, 2008

Having Fun With My Brothers

It's so heartwarming for me to watch our boys playing with Gavin! Jacob has always given Gavin lots of attention and wants to hold him often. Caleb has always gone in spurts of wanting to play with him and then not playing with him, depending on the day. Nolan has been somewhat indifferent to having Gavin around, up until the last couple of months anyway. Lately he's been wanting to play with him a lot more. I think it's because Gavin is more active and smiling, where he wasn't doing these things a few months ago. Now Nolan is the first to come running if Gavin is gagging and about to spit up and he seems to enjoy playing with him. There have actually been arguments between the brothers of who gets to watch Gavin while we are doing things around the house! A couple of weeks ago Joel and I had a lot to do and we asked who was willing to keep an eye on Gavin, so that we could get some things done. Well, all the boys wanted that responsibility, so we made a deal with them.

We have several big trees on our property and they are always losing their branches. One of the boys' chores is to pick up all the sticks before the lawn can be mowed. The boys do not like this chore at all! They complain about it and take forever getting the job done! Anyway, we said that whoever picks up the most sticks in the fastest time gets to keep an eye on Gavin for us. I didn't really think that this would motivate them much, but it actually did! They all went right to work and picked up those sticks faster than we had ever seen them do it! Who would have thought that a prize of hanging out with Gavin would make them work hard?! I would have thought of this a long time ago, if I had known! Since they all did so well, they all got the privlege of helping to watch Gavin for us.

It's wonderful to see the love that they have for Gavin! This makes me happy since I have worried about the consequences of them having a brother with special needs. The love that they show to him, shows me that I have nothing to worry about! They love Gavin just the way he is! What a gift!

"Let brotherly love continue. Do not forget to entertain strangers, for by so doing some have unwittingly entertained angels." Hebrews 13:1-2

Wednesday, October 22, 2008

My sight made clear

Earlier this week I had an eye opening experience. The funny thing is, at the time, I could not physically see very well. I wear contacts everyday because I hate the feeling of glasses on my nose. Anyway, on Monday I was just going about my business, when all of a sudden I couldn't see very well out of my right eye. I thought that maybe I had something in my eye, so I put some eyedrops in it. This didn't help at all. I kept closing one eye at a time to see just how different my sight was in each eye. It was drastically different, so I began to get worried. I thought maybe something was wrong with my eye. Maybe I was going blind in that eye or I was having a stroke or something. Yes, I am prone to thinking in depth a little bit too much, but that's another story all together! Anyway, finally I decided to take out the contact to clean it, hoping this would help. Guess what? There wasn't a contact in that eye! It had been, but somehow it popped out without my even knowing it! (I have yet to find it, by the way!) And, because I am prone to analyze everything, I came to a conclusion throughout this process, that I am now going to share with all of you.

Before I do this I want to share with you something that I read this week. I read that, in the last month, people are increasingly more worried and anxious. The percentage of people who say that they are happy with their life has dropped significantly. The number of happy people went from 70% to 59%. So, between my worrying about my going blind and reading these statistics, I started really thinking about being happy and content.

I feel like I am still one of those people who are in the happy category. I am thankful for this! I started thinking about my life. Having a child with special needs brings about a lot of worries! Yet, for the most part, I am quite happy. Yes, I worry. Yes, I wish Gavin had a brighter future ahead. Yes, I wish I didn't have so many responsibilities. (Medications, Doctor visits, Breathing Treatments, Keeping everything straight, Worrying about his heart, Worrying that he may never even sit up one day, Worrying about him coming in contact with germs due to his decreased immune system...and the list goes on.) But, even with all of this, I am happy! I have so much to be thankful for! And, Gavin is very high on that list! So, why am I able to stay in the 'happy' category? I'll tell you why. God! I can't even put into words how happy His promises to me, affect me emotionally! Without Him, I know that I would be in the unhappy category right now!

Our country is facing some big changes and it affects all of us. I find myself getting caught up in it all and worrying about it, but then I remember that I have no reason to worry! God has a plan! He has promised, to those that believe in Him, a future with Him! A future of happiness that will trump anything here on earth! Because of Him, I can see clearly. I can look past the chaos and see a bright future. I can see clearly, but only because of Him! And, I know that this knowledge is a gift! Like our pastor said Sunday, Faith is a gift! Thank You, Lord, for this Awesome gift! So, if you would have rated your happiness level as being lower than a month ago, please try to look to the ONLY One Who can bring you true happiness...Our Almighty Maker of heaven and earth! He gave us this country and He has blessed it greatly! I just pray that Americans will look to Him when they place their votes this November! May God continue to Bless America!

"Therefore I say to you, do not worry about your life, what you will eat or what you will drink; nor about your body, what you will put on. Is not life more than food and the body more than clothing? Look at the birds of the air, for they neither sow nor reap nor gather into barns; yet your heavenly Father feeds them. Are you not of more value than they? Which of you by worrying can add one cubit to his stature? So why do you worry about clothing? Consider the lilies of the field, how they grow: they neither toil nor spin; and yet I say to you that even when Soloman in all his glory was not arrayed like one of these. Now if God so clothes the grass of the field, which today is, and tomorrow is thrown into the oven, will He not much more clothe you, O you of little faith? Therefore do not worry, saying, 'What shall we eat?' or 'What shall we drink?' or 'What shall we wear?' For after all these things the Gentiles seek. For your heavenly Father knows that you need all of these things. But seek first the kingdom of God and His righteousness, and all these things shall be added to you. Therefore do not worry about tomorrow, for tomorrow will worry about it's own things. Sufficient for the day is it's own trouble." Matthew 6:25-34

Monday, October 20, 2008

Gavin has reached a huge milestone!

Today marks one whole year that Gavin has remained out of the hospital!!! There have been many days in his life that I doubted we would ever be able to say this! Gavin has spent 6 months of his life in the hospital. So, to not have to be admitted to a hospital for this long is huge! Doctors doubted it, we doubted it and I'm sure even Gavin doubted it!

Thank You Lord for proving us all wrong! You are an AWESOME God and we know that anything is possible with You!

We want to thank so many of you who helped us through those agonizing days spent in the hospital! God blessed us with such a wonderful support system and we couldn't have done it without all of you! THANK YOU!

"Every good gift and every perfect gift is from above, and comes down from the Father of lights, with whom there is no variation or shadow of turning." James 1:17

Friday, October 17, 2008

I'm working really hard!

Gavin has been doing a little better lately with his neck and head control. He's normally quite floppy and just slumps in whatever position he is in. Lately he seems to be really working on keeping his head and body up. So, I thought that I would try putting him in his exersaucer. Previous tries ended with him quite upset and just slumping over. Look at him now! He actually likes it and seems really proud of himself! It's a lot of work for the little guy and I have to wrap a blanket around his body to help support him, but he's trying at least! Momma's so proud!!!

He had an EEG yesterday to measure his brain waves and to see if there is any spiking in his brain. Spiking shows that his brain is irritable, which could lead to seizures. He has not had a seizure since January, that we can see visually anyway. Hopefully the EEG will show that he isn't having any as well. One of my biggest fears is that he will start to have seizures again. It is SO emotionally draining to watch your child having them! I have been much more relaxed since they have stopped. I used to feel burdened all of the time when they were occuring. Even when I would get a chance to get away for awhile, I never really got away. I would always have this nagging feeling that something wasn't good and would even find myself almost crying at the store or wherever I was. I'm so relieved that he is not having them anymore! Please pray that he can remain seizure free! Pray for those families who are having to watch their child having them. It really breaks my heart thinking that many are struggling with this right now!

Thanks for your continued prayers for Gavin and our family! We feel very blessed to know how many have, and are praying for him! God Bless You!

"O Lord, our Lord, How excellent is Your name in all the earth, Who have set Your glory above the heavens!" Psalm 8:1

Wednesday, October 15, 2008

Gavin's Gang at the Buddy Walk

Here are more pictures of Gavin and his gang at the Buddy Walk. We want to thank all of you who came! We feel very blessed to have such a wonderful support team! Thanks again to all of you who donated to the Down syndrome Association of West Michigan! Your generosity is very much appreciated! There is just one more thing to say: We have WONDERFUL friends and family!!! THANK YOU!!!

"Your word is a lamp to my feet and a light to my path." Psalm 119:105

Monday, October 13, 2008

Buddy Walk 2008

Here are a few pictures of us at the Down syndrome Buddy Walk. We had a wonderful time and beautiful weather! We want to thank everyone who came out to support us and everyone who generously donated to the great cause! We feel so blessed to have such wonderful support from family, friends and even strangers! It means SO MUCH to us that so many of you took time out to come walk with us! We just can't express how truly thankful we are to all of you! THANK YOU! THANK YOU! THANK YOU! More pictures to follow in upcoming posts!

"Your word is a lamp to my feet and a light to my path." Psalm 119:105

Wednesday, October 8, 2008

Gavin at School

Here are some pictures of Gavin at school today. He practiced his head lifts, bounced on a ball, played with toys and beads, and sang songs!

He hasn't exactly been enjoying school the last couple of times that we went, but today he was really happy to be there and seemed to enjoy himself. He was the loud mouth of the group today and had a lot to say! At the end of the class he is usually sleeping, but today he made it all the way through.

I know that I expressed my concerns about even going to this class, but I think it will benefit him a little. He is not as advanced as most of the other children, but it hasn't bothered me as much as I thought it would. So, I'm thankful for this! The first 2 classes that we went to he wasn't sure about the whole thing. He didn't like all the noise of the other babies crying, which made him cry! And, he wasn't impressed with some of the things that they made him do, but I think he's starting to accept the idea.

Gavin's cardiology appointment went well! Yay! The doctor said that he was doing well and no changes were needed! He doesn't need to see us back for another 6 months! I'm very relieved with the news that everything looked good! Whew!

Gavin continues to have a guncky cough, but it's clearing up a little. For a couple of days his O2 saturations were lower than his norm and his lungs sounded weezy, but he's coming around and has managed to stay out of the hospital! Another thing to celebrate! I'm beginning to think that I might just be able to relax again! Almost a year of no hospital stays! Yahoo!

Thanks for keeping up with Gavin and for all the support and prayers that we've received! We have so much to be thankful for!

"Enter His gates with thanksgiving, and into His courts with praise. Be thankful to Him, and bless His name." Psalm 100:4

Monday, October 6, 2008

Gavin's getting feisty!

I think our days of calm, go with the flow Gavin, are numbered! When Gavin was in the hospital for so long the nurses used to say what a fighter he was! But, after his stroke and being put on so many seizure medications, he stopped being so fiesty. He rarely cried and didn't put up a fight for anything, well...except baths and washing his face! I'm actually happy to say that his little attitude is coming back!

The last few weeks he has suddenly 'woke' up and started showing us that he has a mind of his own! I LOVE it! He cries when left alone for too long. This is great to hear, because this means that he's actually aware of his surroundings and is finding a way to tell us that he's not happy. He's also a lot more active, physically and mentally. Plus, he's putting up a huge fight when we do his breathing treatments on him! It has become quite a workout for us trying to hold him down and keep the mask on his face! It's a pain, but it's great to see him fighting! Here are some pictures of him putting up a fight, by grabbing the tubing and squirming around!

He doesn't look too happy does he?! His shirt says GRRR! And, that's exactly how he sounds throughout the breathing treatments! It's wonderful to see him come alive! I pray that this continues and that he uses this new energy to develop further!

Today we head to the cardiologist for a check-up. I'm always nervous going to these appointments. I fear that they are going to say that the echo of his heart shows that his heart function isn't good any longer or that the leak in his Mitral valve is getting worse! He has been doing so well and has stayed out of the hospital for so long! I think my biggest fear is being told that he needs to be hospitalized or needs another surgery. I hate that this feeling looms over me sometimes! But, I dread the thought of spending another minute in a hospital! Please pray that we get a good report and that I will not be consumed with these thoughts! I have to remember that God has ALWAYS given us what we stand in need of and that He has it ALL under control for us! I'm so thankful for this knowledge!

"Through the Lord's mercies we are not consumed, because His compassions fail not." Lamentations 3:22

Friday, October 3, 2008


Jacob and Nolan always say that Gavin is famous. They say this because so many people seem to know about him, have prayed for him and he has his 'own' blog! Well...our other boys are going to have their 5 minutes of fame as well!

My mom works for a t.v. station. The station does it's own local show that focuses on children and the area where we live. Last week the host of the show asked my mom if her grandchildren would be interested in doing a spot for this show. The boys said that they were interested and they did the filming for it this week. The show is supposed to air this weekend. If you live in the G.R. area, and want to check it out, here are the times that it should air:

The show is called "Maranda: Where you live."

Friday on WXSP (Channel 18) at 7:00 P.M.
Saturday on WOTV (Channel 4) at 7:30 A.M. and 7:30 P.M.
Saturday on WOOD (Channel 8) at 6:30 P.M.

Here are some pictures that I took while they were filming:

Pretty Cool Huh?!

Wednesday, October 1, 2008

The rest of the quote

Today, after posting my last entry, I received an e-mail from the sister of Jon who wrote the film that I was recommending! I don't know how she knew that I had blogged about her film and her brother, but somehow she found out. She thanked me for recommending her film and for the support! She also gave me the rest of the quote that I had posted at the end of the entry by Morris West. So, I thought that I would share it with all of you.

As read in the Teachings of Jon by Jennifer Owensby:

"I know what you are thinking. You need a sign.
What better one could I give than to make this little one whole and new?
I could do it. But I will not. I am the Lord, and not a conjurer.
I gave this mite a gift I denied to all of you, eternal innocence.
To you, he looks imperfect, but to Me he is flawless.
He will never offend Me, as all of you have done.
He is necessary to you. He will evoke the kindness that will keep you human.
His infirmity will prompt you to gratitude for your own good fortune.
And more, he will remind you everyday that I am Who I am, that My ways are not yours,
I have chosen you. You have not chosen Me.
This little one is My sign to you.
Treasure him."

From "Clowns of God", By Morris West

Again, Thank You God for the lessons learned and for sending us reminders of just how blessed we are by You!

"And truly Jesus did many other signs in the presence of His disciples, which are not written in this book; but these are written that you may believe that Jesus is the Christ, the Son of God, and that believing you may have life in His name." John 20:30

Down syndrome awareness

October is National Down syndrome awareness month. In honor of this I am going to share with you a website, about a guy named Jon who has Down syndrome, who has really touched my heart! I watched a T.V. show about him last year and it made me so happy! His sister produced the film. It's called, "The Teachings of Jon." It is supposed to be aired again this year throughout the month of October nationwide. This is a show that will touch you, whether or not you have a child with Down syndrome or a child with special needs. I highly recommend it! You can go to to learn more about him and his family. You can even preview the film by clicking on 'news/showtimes', then 'watch trailer here' on the site. Watching this show did give me a sense of sadness. I watched Jon doing all that he COULD do and wondered if Gavin would ever be able to do any of this due to the severity of his stroke and medical problems. I pray that he will be able to do some of these things and look forward to the future God has laid out before us!

Some of the quotes about Jon that I appreciated on this site were: "Jon has an important purpose here...not to learn, but to teach.", "He stirs up what's good in you and when that happens, you grow." His sister that wrote the film says, "I remember asking God a lot, "How come we're so lucky to have Jon?"" This made me smile, because so often Jacob says the same thing about Gavin! This site also has a section that would benefit all families with children with special needs. There is a lot of info under a section called 'resources/links.' Go to this section then click on the Special Child website to find this info.

Watching this film and going to this site has brought me a feeling of hope and happiness. It's so easy to just get caught up in our everyday life. Shows like this one can help us to step back and see how blessed we are. We can also learn something from someone, who many might think has nothing to give to society. I know that I've said this before, but...I have learned so much since having Gavin in my life! I have learned more from having him around than I have learned from any college class that I've had or any sermon I've ever listened to! I am sometimes so amazed by what God has taught me through Gavin!

Thank You God for Gavin! Thank You God for sending us special people who can teach us so much! Thank You for Jon and his family and for the lessons they have to share with others!

"I have chosen you. You have not chose me. This little one is my sign to you. Treasure him." Morris West

"Just as He chose us in Him before the foundation of the world, that we should be holy and without blame before Him in love." Ephesians 1:4