Wednesday, December 26, 2012

Growing up, my brothers and I were super competitive. Freakishly competitive. We turned everything into a competition, and someone always ended up crying, cussing, punching, or kicking someone else in the end. Or a combination of all four. Our competitions were often shut down because of our over the top intensity. My competitive nature has lessened over the years, but it has not completely gone away. I don't like losing. My brother, Price, hates it even more than I do though.

We can definitely still go at it, especially on the ping pong table. We grew up playing a lot of ping pong and think we are pretty good. We made our mom video us the other day so that we could bask in the glory of our skills.

So here is a little tribute to my sweet baby brother. I am so proud of you for always trying your hardest. I'm sorry that it's just not always quite enough.

(video only slightly edited)

Thanks for standing in the corner for over six minutes to capture this, Mom. 

Lots of Love!

our trip to the north pole

Wednesday, December 19, 2012

A couple of weeks ago I read an article in the Chronicle about a Polar Express train that you could ride on to the North Pole. This particular North Pole is in Palestine, Texas. A little over 150 miles from us. It sounded amazing and I knew we had to take the kids. When I went online to book tickets, most dates were already sold out. The only time that we could do it was Monday, the 17th, at 8:11 PM. Yes, it was a school night, and missing school the next day was not an option because Joey and I both had to work. But we decided to go for it. 

I read that they encouraged pajama wearing, so I took Ace Monday after school to pick out some matching jammies for herself and Archie. I was of course picturing something at least a little bit Christmasy, but she decided on some sharks PJ's and there was no changing her mind. 

Joey got off work at 4:30 and we started heading North to Palestine. The kids had no idea where we were going, we told them it was a super duper surprise. I thought we were allowing ourselves plenty of time....until we got stuck in the most insane traffic while still in Houston. We were in bumper to bumper traffic for almost two hours before we really started moving. Once we got out of it, I thought we would be okay, but we were pretty freaked out that we weren't going to make it. The map on my phone had our ETA at 8:30, and the train was set to leave at 8:11 sharp. I was already planning all these different scenarios in my head of what we were going to do since I was sure we were missing the train. The kids were so excited and we were going to have to come up with something good. 
Here is my "Holy Crappoly, we're not gonna make it!!!" face. 

The kids slept a good part of the drive. And miraculously, with some swift but safe driving, we pulled into the parking lot at 8:06. We ran to the ticket booth and heard the train whistle blow. (Meaning they were about to take off). The lady in the booth screamed "Eicher??" and tossed us our tickets as we sprinted with kids in arms to the train. I kid you not, this was straight out of a movie. We jumped onto the train and it literally started moving before we even got to our seats. 

(At this point Ace was a bit confused and quite serious)

Once we were finally seated and able to explain to the kids that we were heading to the North Pole to see Santa and his elves, everyone was super excited. 

The train ride was so awesome. Singing, dancing train attendants (I don't really know what you call them, but they were the equivalent of a flight attendant) filled the aisles. They served us hot chocolate and cookies, and we listened to The Polar Express.

When we finally pulled up and could see the North Pole the kids were freaking out. Santa stood outside of his workshop with his elves waving at us. 

The best part was when Santa came onto the train and came through to see all of the kids. Ace was in heaven. Archie was a teeny bit freaked out and didn't want to sit in Santa's lap, so he stood behind him. But it turns out he looks like a freaky possessed-eyed growth coming off of Santa's head. If you stare at it long enough it really does get weird. I just did. 

And Santa gave them bells! So exciting. And we could all hear them ringing. Ace tested us several thousand times to make sure we could hear. 

What a night it was!

 When we got off the train there was a little food stand so I got myself a treat for the car ride home. (I literally ate 92% of that thing). And it was RIDICULOUS.

And everyone got corndogs!

We finally arrived home at 12:30. And we are still catching up on sleep. I have been making the kids sleep in whatever clothes they are wearing the next day and letting them stay in bed until it is time to get in the car in the morning. I have such a hard time waking them up when they are so sound asleep. 

The kids have already made me reassure them many times that we will go back and do it again next year. And we will! Maybe with a little more planning next time. But maybe not.

Lots of Love!

why the "yank away" doesn't work for us

Monday, December 10, 2012

Lately in the mornings when I drop Archie off at school I feel like I am really annoying his therapists, teachers, whoever it is that comes out to get him from the car. I totally get the concept behind the "yank away" technique as I like to call it. As a preschool teacher, I know that it is best for many kids just to be whisked away from their mom or dad at drop off and thrown into some fun distraction. 

But that just doesn't work with Archie. And it's very frustrating when someone is trying to pull him away from me while I am trying to tell him goodbye, hug and kiss him, and explain to him that I will see him in just a little while. It is true that by now he knows the routine. He knows that I will be right back, and that I am not leaving him forever. But he does still get anxious. And his way of calming himself is by hugging and kissing me, or Ace, or Joey. When he is scared, he immediately grabs my face and starts kissing my cheek.

So in the mornings when we drop him off at school he has to have at least two hugs and kisses from me, and at least one hug and kiss from Ace. Sometimes he needs more. There have been a couple of times where I have let the teacher take him away before he felt comfortable, and I had to watch him through my rear view screaming for me with his arms out begging for a hug.

The thing is- He will go. It's not like he is trying to avoid going to school all together. He loves school. He just needs to get himself to a place where he is not feeling anxious and he feels comfortable and ready. And it takes less than a minute.

I finally reminded a therapist the other day that Archie has only been with us for sixteen months. That's it- sixteen months. And we are making up for SEVEN YEARS of lost time with him. Seven years without a family, seven years with no mom, or dad, or sister to hug and kiss. Some things are just different with adopted kids. And that's okay. It's just the way it is.

So if I bug some people because we are taking some extra time to love on him before he goes. Then so be it. I will give him that for as long as he needs.

Lots of Love!

oh well.

Saturday, December 1, 2012

That awkward moment when you realize that Ringo Starr is your doppelganger.

And you're a chick.

Lots of Love!

the shop

Thursday, November 29, 2012

For a long time now I have been trying to figure out what I want to be when I grow up. Next year both of my kids will be in school full time and it freaks me out to think about what I will do with myself. We all know I am no Suzy Homemaker. So for about a year I have been researching different career paths, and pondering different things I could do. At one point I was going to be a hairstylist, the next day I was going to be a court reporter. I know at one point I was Googling how to become a crime scene investigator. I wanted to learn a different language and be a translator. I thought about picking up an instrument and auditioning for some bands. I am not kidding. I still actually envision that one happening some day. 

I recently realized that I was reaching pretty far. (Shocker, I know). And while I do believe that I can be whatever I want to be, I also knew I needed to be a bit more practical. So I started to think about what I really loved doing, something that would make me happy, and I remembered- Woodworking. Yeah, yeah, yuck it up, clowns. What am I a 78 year old man?

When my mind gets set on something, I need it to happen right then. So I headed to this Woodcraft store. I was freakishly intimidated by all these burly men in flannel shirts when I walked in, so when they asked if I needed any help, I pretended I was there on behalf of my husband. Who does that? I felt like a little kid telling her mom, "So I have a friend who likes this boy, but she isn't sure what to do...." I just knew they were onto me. Either way, I walked out of that store with a scroll saw and a plan.

So for the past couple of weeks I have been choking on saw dust remembering how much I loved middle school wood shop. The kids have been having so much fun helping me create toys and come up with ideas. They sand, paint, and polish. And for Christmas they want their own "workshop".

So anyway, I have officially jumped on the Etsy bandwagon. ¡eicherumba!:the shop has been officially launched.

Go buy some stuff. These two really want this pink pony.

Lots of Love!

confessions of a far from perfect mom

Wednesday, November 14, 2012

I really don't like blogging about blogging. Lame. (Unless of course you are a blog about blogging. Then blog on.) What the blog? Bloggity blog blog blog. Do you ever say a word so many times that it starts sounding so dang weird and you begin to question whether it is even really a word? That just happened.

So I have been trying to navigate this whole new journey that I am on, and that I am taking my kids on whether they like it or not. I have realized that this is as much of a journey for me as it is for them. An epic parenthood would inevitably lead to an epic childhood. And on the same token, an epic childhood would require epic parents. The two go hand-in-hand.

At the risk of sounding incredibly cheesy and clich√©, I have been doing a lot of soul searching lately. I knew big changes were happening inside of me when I found myself driving around with the windows down belting out sappy country songs, feeling like I was in a movie. And I have been trying to figure out how my self-exploration could fit into this blog. So Eicherumba will be not only about our "Journey to an Epic Childhood" but parenthood as well.

Social media has really begun to screw parenthood up for me. I believe it adds an insane level of stress, guilt, and anxiety to the lives of many moms. It makes it far too easy to compare yourself to another mom and with the click of a mouse can make one feel they are falling short.

I for one, do my best to avoid winning "Mother of the Year" award. So far I am doing incredibly well. Because I am all for uplifting and supporting other moms, I wanted to create a list of ten things that go on at my house. This way you have a place to come and compare yourself, and leave feeling like a damn good mother.

1. I bathe my kids four times a week if I am lucky.
2. Ace's hair is never brushed. (And please don't attempt to brush it when you see her. Thanks.)
3. Ace had the letter "T" show-and-tell at school about three weeks ago. She brought her toothbrush. She and Archie have been sharing a toothbrush ever since because I keep forgetting to get it out of my purse and am too lazy to go downstairs and get it when it comes time to brush.
4. Both kids often sleep in either what they already had on that day, or what they are going to wear the next day. Saves time and laundry.
5. I rarely read papers that come home from the kids' schools. (Often important ones).
6. I don't cook. Like ever. I get a smug little smirk on my face and an undeserving feeling of pride when I boil some macaroni and cheese and throw some bacon in it.
7. While I have been through phases of trying to cut back, Disney Channel is still my number one babysitter. And I do not see myself firing her any time soon.
8. One of the first things Archie knew how to say when he came home from Bulgaria was "pause". (In request to stop a show when he needed to leave the room for a minute.)
9. Breakfast is most often eaten in the car and usually consists of a few slices of turkey lunchmeat and a string cheese.
10. When Archie drops something, falls down, or stubs his toe, he says "dammit". For a while I was wondering, "where the heck did he learn that?" I was about ready to go all Ralphie's mom on A Christmas Story. Then I stubbed my toe and found out.

So I may not be giving my kids snacks like this....

Be giving their teacher's gifts like this...

Be as organized as this...

Our Elf on a Shelf won't be getting as crazy as this....

(This is about as creative as our Elf gets....)


But for now, my kids are as happy as this...

And that's really all that matters.

Cut yourself some slack.

Lots of Love!

remodling the castle

Sunday, November 11, 2012

Six years ago I sat in the pews of a somber church, surrounded by people celebrating the life of and mourning the loss of my brother, Corby. I stood in front of the crowd and shared memories of my brother. My mom and sister did as well. But it was when his girlfriend stood up and read a poem that he had written before he passed away, that my world would change even more than it already had. 

The poem was about how he was going to take control of his messed up life. How he would turn it all around. I could hardly comprehend the words, until she got to one line: "I will begin to steadily lay the foundation to my castle." 

It was like lightning hit me and I realized: He will never have the opportunity to build his castle. I have to do it for him. A few months later I kicked off my non-profit, Corby's Castle. 

I knew that I wanted Corby's Castle to be something that impacted young people's lives in a positive way. I knew that service was going to be the most important component, as I strongly believe Ghandi when he said, "the best way to find yourself is to lose yourself in the service of others."

So we became a service group for high school students. That was my simple way of explaining it when people asked, "what is Corby's Castle all about?"

We started off with a small group of awesome kids. Just trying to find our way. What could we do to really make a difference in the lives of others...

We slowly but surely started figuring it out. It wasn't always as easy as one might think. Unfortunately, there are so many technicalities and red tape in this world, that it isn't always as simple to serve as it should be. 

Over the past five years we have:

*Raised funds to provide brain surgery for Shadrack, a little boy we sponsored in Kenya

*Worked with the kids who are residents at Boy's and Girl's Country 

*Worked with a Special Olympics volleyball team

*Helped rebuild a house destroyed by Katrina

*Sponsored a refugee family for the holidays

*Adopted a spot on the Buffalo Bayou that we kept clean and planted tons of trees 

*"Adopted" a refugee family from Liberia-  We actually got to find them an apartment before they arrived here, and fully furnish it. Then we got to meet them at the airport when they landed and take them to their new home. We taught them how basic things like running water and electricity work. We continued supporting them and helped them get acclimated to their new life. (Quite an eye opening experience for our high school kids...and for me!)

A group of our kids got to miss school to welcome the David family at the airport. Pretty cool.

We got both girls bikes, and taught them how to ride

Ruth, baby Ace, and Leomie. 

We did some AWESOME stuff.

But somewhere along the way, I began to lose focus and lost sight of our mission. I started feeling stressed out about the number of kids we were going to have at a meeting. I started feeling anxious about planning meetings that were going to be fun and exciting, so that the kids would like it and would want to come back. But fun games and numbers weren't the purpose of our group. Sure, it was nice to have lots of kids and lots of fun. And it was important to laugh and have fellowship, but those weren't supposed to feel like make or break deals. 

But we
did have some pretty rad times. Like at our "Oldschool" dance. 

I eventually got wrapped up in wanting Corby's Castle to be known. For us to be seen. Our numbers had grown and I wanted them to continue growing. But in reality none of that mattered. Last year I really started feeling overwhelmed, and I didn't want to admit it, but I felt like I was watching Corby's Castle crumble right before my eyes. 

I tried to come to terms with the thought of letting go. Friends and family encouraged me that, "you have done so many great things...it doesn't have to be forever..." I pretended I agreed, but I wasn't ready to see the end. So I lost many nights of sleep agonizing over what would become of Corby's Castle, how could I sustain it? 

The answer fell into my lap not long after. The coach of the Special Olympics team we had been working with for a couple of years asked me if we would be interested in starting a Unified Team with some of their players. I really wasn't sure what it all meant, but being the "yes" girl that I am, I told her, "sure!" I went home and did my research and I cried at my computer. This was it. This was what we would be. The answer was clear. And the answer was perfect. 

Special Olympics Unified Teams are made up of players with and without intellectual disabilities. All on the same team. Practicing together as one team and competing together against other Unified teams. (Basically the most brilliant concept).

The team we have been working with for the past few years is called the Houston Hot Shots. Taking some of their players, and our amazing high school kids- we created the unified team: the Corby's Castle Towers.  And today, the Towers competed in Houston's Regional Special Olympics Volleyball Tournament as a Unified Team. 

The Towers

Hot Shots and Towers
Holt, Frank, and Patrick hanging out between games

My kids LOVE all of the players. Oh, and if this isn't part of our journey to an epic childhood, then I don't know what is.

Listening to coach during a timeout

According to Merriam-Webster, to unify is to make into a unit or a coherent whole: UNITE

Moving forward, I do miss what Corby's Castle once was, but more than that, I am excited about what's to come.

Go Towers!

Lots of Love!

questions and attempted answers

Sunday, November 4, 2012

I didn't expect to already be getting into the "tough questions" part of life with my kids, but I totally am. Ace has always been very curious and inquisitive, and has never let me off the hook with a generic "oh just because..." type of answer. 

She recently asked me, "If God takes care of everyone and loves everyone, how come there are some people what sleep in their cars and what don't have families?" (Side note: Ace uses "what" for all interrogative pronouns).

My mother-in-law and father-in-law are divorced and a few days ago she was asking me why they don't live together. My attempt at an explanation did not suffice, and she kept on questioning it, unable to understand why someone's mom and dad didn't live in the same house. By the end of the conversation she was clearly stressed out by it all and I was left reassuring her that Mommy and Daddy would always be together.

And then there's Archie. There's one word in the English language that I would have been perfectly fine with it not making its way into his vocabulary: "Why". EVERYTHING these days is "Why? Why, Mommy? Why?" "Just because" used to be an adequate enough answer for him. Now it is followed with a cute, puzzled little face asking, "because why?" 

We are and always have been very open in talking about his adoption. But it is kind of an interesting path that we are navigating, because although he was seven when we brought him home, he still doesn't understand what it all means. So the other day, the kids were going through a bunch of my old pictures and Archie saw one of just me and Joey and excitedly asked me, "Archie in mommy's tummy here?" (Ace often asks me if she was in my tummy in different pictures). I was caught completely off guard and had no idea what to say. He had the biggest smile on my face and he wanted so badly for me to say, "Yes, buddy! You sure were!" But I couldn't. Ace on the other hand was not at a loss for words. She quickly piped up, "No, Archie you weren't ever in Mommy's tummy. Remember? We got you from a orphanage." Archie was not pleased and started insisting that Ace was wrong and that he had been in Mommy's tummy. They went back and forth about it, before I was able to distract them and end the conversation. Ace's intentions were not to make Archie feel bad, she is just very adamant that people have their facts straight. And she couldn't understand why it mattered. To her, they got to our family two different ways but are both our kids, no difference. 

Archie was sad. Not a long-lasting, tears sad. But a quivering lip sad. One day, he will understand more, and I want him to be proud. 

I hate that adoption often feels like a taboo subject. I don't really get it. When we were in the process of adopting Archie, it was like people didn't know what to say. One time, just after we had announced that we were adopting, and a friend of mine had just announced she was pregnant, we were walking together up to where a group of our friends were. When we got to the group, one of the girls cheerily said, "Congratulations!" For a split second I thought she was talking to me, and almost began to thank her. She wasn't talking to me, she was talking to my pregnant friend. Throughout the time we were together, my pregnant friend received tons of hugs, questions, and congrats. No one said a single word to me about the little one I was expecting. But they all knew. So awkward. And pretty hurtful. 

November is National Adoption Month. I hope that the adoption conversation starts to open up and that it becomes less "different". I hope that some day the response to finding out someone is adopted will change from the typical, "oh my gosh, really? He's adopted?? I had no idea.." to "oh cool". 

A few months ago when he had his summer cut, Archie found an old picture of Joey and came running up to me holding it screaming, "Mommy, Mommy, Archie like Daddy!!" He was so thrilled that he looked just like his Daddy. 

I see it too, buddy. 

Lots of Love!

The Littlest Storyteller

Tuesday, October 30, 2012

Okay, so I love my kids' creative minds and wild imaginations. Ace especially has a WILD one. She makes up tons of crazy, outlandish stories, full of vivid details, and delivers them quite convincingly. Many times, by the end of her stories, she has me so engaged and interested that I forget she is making the whole darn thing up. 

Some of her stories start to border on flat out lies though. She will tell things to other people and then tell them, "but don't tell my mom, she wasn't there so she doesn't know..." (It usually gets back to me, against her sweet four-year old request.) Like a couple of months ago I walked up on a conversation Ace was having with a friend of mine. I didn't hear anything, but she had that "busted" look on her face, and I knew that she had been telling one of her stories. So I asked what they were talking about and my friend said, "oh she was just telling me how she got this bobo on her leg...." (She had a little scratch.) I asked how exactly that was... At this point Ace was looking at my friend with bug eyes like "please don't rat me out." But my friend proceeded to tell me that Ace said she had a Tinkerbell knife that she kept under her pillow at night, and that she had gotten cut with it. Oh and when asked where she got the Tinkerbell knife, she told my friend she had gotten it from her Gigi (her great grandma, my grandma). 

She insisted to me that she indeed did have a Tinkerbell knife that Gigi gave her, but that I just didn't know about it because it was a secret. (Don't worry Gigi, I know you would never give weapons to my kids.) I highly doubt that a Tinkerbell knife even exists. 

We talk a lot about telling the truth. We talk about how it is okay to make up stories, but that after the story is finished we need to admit that it was just a story and not the truth. She knows the difference, but she sure does convince herself, and often me, that she is telling the truth. 

Sometimes her stories really get the rumor mill started though. She often tells people that we are "getting a new sister/brother". She told her teachers last year that "Daddy's going to the orphanage this weekend to get my big sister and bring her home." After school one of them pulled me aside and quietly asked me, "are yall adopting again?" I was like, "umm not anytime soon!" And then she told me what Ace had shared with her and the other teachers. Awesome. 

Then at Sunday School one day they made wreaths with cutout hands and the names of their family written on them. Here is Ace's:

She told her teachers that Sally was her new sister that we just got. They were confused to say the least. I mean this kid is freakishly convincing. 

Then there are the "brothers and sisters" who actually live with us. They are imaginary siblings. Well, the baby, Kate, is technically a doll, but the others are imaginary. There's Kate the baby, Alex the big brother, Annie the big sister, and Mila, the other big sister. (Oh but don't worry, Ace assured me that "even though her name is Mila, she still speaks English"). Thanks for the clarification, I was concerned about the possibility of a language barrier. 

So I have been going along with this whole thing for a while. But it is seriously starting to feel like I have four other kids. Sometimes she needs me to discipline one of the big kids for not sharing with her, or for yelling at her. Of course Baby Kate needs full time attention. Ace insists on brushing her teeth twice a day and feeding her regularly. I have even bought things for her at the store. Yes, I have. This is not a joke. 

Other ridiculous things I have done (or do on a regular basis) for the imaginary sisters and brother: 
Hold doors open at various places (often public places) for an extra long time so that they can all walk through. 
Moved seats because it was one of the siblings spots.
Gotten extra drinks for them.
Scolded the older ones. (and was really pretty serious about it)
Put them in time out. 
Put a "baby show" on TV because that's what Kate loves. 
Sang lullabies to Baby Kate to help her sleep. 

Here are two songs Ace wrote about Kate. According to Ace, she "was first in a orphanage, then got in mommy's tummy, then we went and picked her up at the hospital."

Oh, and in case you were wondering, she is dead serious with these songs. She is not kidding. And she thinks she is so good. (Of course I do too and I tell her she's the best singer ever, so that could be part of it...).

So I am trying to figure out how to balance this whole thing. I thought it was going to be one of those quick phases that would pass, but I do not see the light at the end of the tunnel with this one. Of course, like I said, I love her imagination and ability to create such detailed stories, but come on, where do I draw the line? I feel like one day I am going to snap and scream, "there is no Alex or Mila or Annie, and Baby Kate is just a freaking doll!!!" No, I would never really do that. But I do it in my head most days. 

Life with Ace. Gotta love it.

Lots of Love!


Thursday, October 25, 2012

So I thought I would be doing a bunch of profound Down syndrome posts this month being that October is Down Syndrome Awareness Month. But here it is October 25th, and I haven't said a thing about it. I thought about posting a bunch of facts and statistics, but I figured those could be Googled. Instead, I am going to share with you 10 random facts about my extra special boy. 

1. He and Ace wear the same size shoe, but his chubby little foot is much more difficult to wiggle into his shoes. He also has the classic Down syndrome space between his big toe and the others. 

2. He has the kindest soul. He is so caring and concerned about others. Here is an email I got a while back from the preschool director at our church:

"Archie was the Worship Leader yesterday and did a great job!  I’ve noticed over the past two weeks he seems so much more mature, patient and responsible.  He listened to the story while sitting on the little leader bench the whole time and I know he heard it.  Our storyteller, John, came in complaining about an upset stomach.  (We were learning about Daniel and how God wanted him to make good food choices.)  AfterJohn left, Archie was done being the worship leader too.  We initially thought he just had enough, but it turns out he was worried about John!  He went to the back of the room and sat with John rubbing his tummy and saying, ‘bad food.’  What an empathetic little soul."

3. He is the world's best sleeper. In the fifteen months that he has been home with us, not once has he woken up in the middle of the night. He falls asleep very quickly, and he sleeps through the night. Every night. And thank heavens for that considering that our little girl is just the opposite. Impossible to get to sleep, and awake by 1 AM. Every night.  
He does, however, flop around quite a bit in the night. These pictures were taken within a one hour time frame:

4. He has an obsession with wearing fake glasses. We have been through several options, but the best so far have been a pair of goggle-like glasses that came with a superhero costume that a friend of mine let me borrow to try to entice him to play in his soccer game. (He only wanted to play wearing glasses). Now he wears them every day, everywhere. 

 On bike rides

In floor seats at the Rockets game


And of course, to sleep

Another favorite pair

5. His favorite thing in the world to do is take pictures. I really think he might be some genius photographer one day. 

6. He also has an obsession with ties, vests, suspenders, and basically all accessories. I am on the hunt for a man-purse or a European carryall, much like Jerry Seinfeld's.

Archie is definitely my fancy boy. 

7. He has become an incredibly picky eater. When he first came home he would put anything into his mouth. He was desperate to get his hands on food. He always cleaned his plate-- including veggies. Now, it is a total battle to get him to eat anything green. His breakfast of choice is a bunch of turkey slices and a string cheese. Tonight, I made some ground turkey and put some tiny diced veggies in it, and he spit out every bite that had anything other than the turkey in it . I have never had to worry about having a picky eater...Ace is an awesome eater, and would actually choose green beans over a cookie. Now I am finding myself being one of those moms trying to hide the veggies in stuff. 

8. The boy can seriously dance. Seriously.

He just started a dance class. And he is obsessed. A dance center nearby started a class for kids with Down syndrome. It is right up his alley. 
And Ace started a class too. When she found out Archie was starting dance she said to me, "Mom, maybe they have a dance class for kids what don't have Down syndrome and what was born from their mommy's tummies." I told her I was sure they did. Of course they had to get matching outfits. 

9. He is the world's greatest cuddler. He also loves to give me kisses and I love to get them.

10. He brightens the lives of everyone he meets. His smile and laugh are truly infectious. It is impossible not to fall in love with this boy. I got an email the other day- the subject: "Thank you for blessing us with Archie". 

Down syndrome truly is a blessing. I don't know how else to put it. I know for some people that is hard to understand. Does raising a child with Down syndrome come with its unique challenges? Absolutely. But then again raising a super smart, sassy, stubborn little girl comes with its unique challenges too. 

We are just so thankful to have Archie and his extra chromosome in our family!

Lots of Love!