Last week we took you and your brothers and sisters to the coast for a week. Somehow we were just never able to break away for an extended vacation during the summer, and finally a window of time opened up in Daddy's schedule so that we could go. It ended up being a blessing in disguise that we didn't get to the beach until September- the weather was unbelievably perfect! The Oregon coast is so unpredictable that even if we go on a day when it is 100 degrees in Corvallis, it might still be windy and cold... but we couldn't have asked for nicer weather last week.
These particular pictures were taken just around the corner from the house we stay at. Your siblings named it "Grassy Knoll" years ago, and it's one of their favorite places to go at Depoe Bay. We found it on a walk one day ~ the grassy expanse set atop cliffs overlooking the pacific ocean is the perfect place for small boys to re-enact imaginary battle scenes, while you and I lounge on blankets watching the waves. We've spied sea lions, seagulls, and even whales from our vantage point, and although the ocean might be a melancholy gray or periwinkle at the beach, at Grassy Knoll it is always turquoise blue.
Tuesday of our vacation was your sister Abbi's 9th birthday. We celebrated with donuts for everyone, and yogurt with granola for Abigail, (her request!).
You mastered climbing the stairs during our vacation. Any time we turned our back you were scooting your way over to the bottom of them, with a devilish little grin on your face. Next time we go we'll have to bring a gate...
You also practiced standing all week. You don't need to pull yourself up on things anymore- you just push yourself up from the floor and stand there smiling at us. Except for when you're grumpy....
...because Mama took your cup away. You were throwing it wildly across the floor to see how much milk you could splatter. You're a typical toddler- you love to make a mess with food!
It's late now, Lily, and I have more pictures to upload, but your sleepy cries are interrupting this vacation post. So I'll end this with one of my favorite photos...because that little pinkie of yours just melts my heart:)
Loving you always,
Before I blog from my heart here for little Artem, I just wanted to point something out. Did you notice there was something missing in my letter to Lily?
There was not one reference to Down syndrome. Because honestly, our lives are not dominated by it...that magical little extra chromosome has its place, and there are definitely aspects of our day-to-day that have changed since Lily's birth. But if I'm going to be honest about "raising awareness for Down syndrome" during this 31 for 21 campaign, I thought it fitting that at least one post demonstrate how very typical the experience of raising a child with special needs can be. While there are sure to be challenges ahead that are unique to parenting a child with Down syndrome, life as we know it didn't suddenly morph into some intense and burdensome experience.
And I say that because I remember how it felt to be looking at things from the other side- the pre-Lily days when a potential diagnosis made it seem as though our lives were about to change drastically, and there were times I was more than a little apprehensive about what that all meant. Having a doctor deliver that potential diagnosis in somber and morose tones did not help my perception of what the future might hold for our family. I wish I could go back to those day during my pregnancy, and show my pre-Lily self (and maybe even that doctor!) what it would be like on this side of things.
Because it's not at all what I expected...
...it is so much better!
And now, if you will indulge me- a moment for Artem!
If you've missed it, you can read HERE about what my blogging friend Julia and I are praying and hoping to do, with your help.
Artem's grant fund was at $7,423 just a few days ago- it is now at $7,997. Our aim is to get that grant to $10,000- the tipping point, if you will, by the end of October. All we're asking is a five dollar donation.
What is five bucks? It's a Starbucks latte. A burger and fries. A magazine. A tip at a restaurant.
A little boy's life.
Because five dollars multiplied by several hundred readers will literally save Artem's life.
I can't think of a better way to raise awareness for Down syndrome, then by ringing the bell loud and strong for one little boy, waiting thousands of miles away in an orphanage
for his mommy and daddy to claim him.
SPREAD THE WORD- ARTEM NEEDS A FAMILY!