Our lives became a little [EXTRA] special on February 15, 2011 in a way we never expected.

This is about our journey and the [EXTRA]ordinary people we meet along the way.

Friday, May 25, 2012

I get TWO firsts

I loved when I first became a Mom to my beautiful Eden. She impatiently joined us 3.5 weeks ahead of schedule, but came out pink and healthy and perfect. She was tiny (I mean TINY...4.14 the day we brought her home). That weekend was the when the "hurricane" came through Cincinnati in the Fall of 2008. Without electricity, we furiously lit candles and tried to keep up with her demands. We really didn't know what to expect but ended up just sitting around with the screen door open, staring at each other, thinking: "what do we do now...?"

The unknown was both exiliarating and fearful all at the same time. We didn't know what twas coming next. We didn't know when she would start crawling or how we would feed her or how she would grow. We had never done this before, so we really didn't know what to do and we had to learn "on the job." When those "firsts" started coming, wow were they exciting! We celebrated everything: saying "dada," sitting up, playing with a toy, turning a certain way, hi-five-ing. Even the mundane was celebrated - Eden's in a new size diaper...YAY! (LOL).

It was pure joy.

I was told that once you have a first child, those subsequent "firsts" of other children never quite live up to the excitement of the original (although still celebrated in their own way). You kind of know what to expect and how things will go. The security of that makes you feel rather, well...seasoned. When I found out I was pregnant the second time, this is how I expected life would go on with baby #2.

Boy, was I wrong.

After Wyatt's diagnosis, I was wrapped in the fear part of the unknown. Who, what, wehn, where, how, and even that why all circled in my head. It was an uneasy feeling at first. But as things have progressed, I now feel like the luckiest person in the world!

I get to have TWO firsts.

Because having Wyatt is kind of like having that first child again. We didn't know when things would happen for him and we were not sure what to expect (and still don't!). We surely are learning about Down syndrome "on the job."

That uncertainty and fear has now turned into alot of excitement (well, mixed with some cautiousness, just like with Eden). We celebrate EVERYTHING!  For example, this week Wyatt sat himself up for the first time from laying on his belly. We were sitting there playing and he did it, right in front of my eyes. Eden was sitting next to me. When I realized what had happened, a turned to Eden and squeeled with such excitement, it scared her! I exclaimed, "Eden, he sat up! Wyatt good job buddy!" I clapped and called out, "Yay! Wyatt!!!"

What a wonderful joy this adds to life. I realized, as I was filled with immense pride and joy for my son's seemingly small accomplishment, that I felt that way with all of Eden's firsts.

And now I get to feel that pure "first" exillaration, all over again! : )

Monday, May 14, 2012

Mother's Day Amnesia

What beautiful weather for Mother's Day we had!

Insert sarcasm.

Yuck! It was pouring down rain. Josh worked al day as a result of having to be off last weekend for a wedding we attended. But overall , it actually a really nice Mother's Day. I got to go see Les Miserables with my Mom and my sister. It was the first time just the three of us had seen a show together, without my Dad.

This spring seems like there's a lot of firsts. Mostly because I really don't remember much between February and about June of last year. I was still in a fog over having a newborn, wrapping my head around Wyatt's diagnosis and feverishly moving forward with my education. So much so that I feel like I was an amnesiac for that time! Yesterday, I woke up and thought: Wow, my first Mother's Day with two kids!

Um, yeah, not so much. It's my second.

It's kind of fun, in a way. I'm getting to feel the excitement about things that I "missed" during my fog. I honestly, have zero recollection of what we did for Mother's Day last year. So, to have a very nice one (minus a fever for Wyatt and a melt-down with Eden) with my kids this year is just peachy. I love that I was able to be a Mom - of both a boy and a girl - something I wasn't ever sure I'd ever fulfill at one point. And I loved snuggling on the couch with them on a rainy afternoon, even if it was just for a moment. Overall, I felt blessed this weekend, for the big things and the little things.

And for things I don't remember.

Happy belated Mother's Day all!

Tuesday, May 8, 2012

Thank you for being [EXTRA]ordinary

The culmination of the last 16 weeks was anti-climactic, almost. At 2:32, I hurriedly hit the "send" button as I submitted my last assignment for my Student Teaching. Although the previous 24-hours were spent scrambling, sleep-deprived and panic-stricken, that last moment was no big deal. As I closed out of Blackboard, the bell signifying the end of my planning period rang and students shuffled through the hallways. One popped into my room, oblivious to the momentous feat that had just occurred.

"Mrs. Scheerer, can I come into your room for Advisory?" he said.

"No, sorry. Not today, I already have an extra student. Maybe Friday," I replied.

He grumbled and moved on while my other students excitedly came in, asking, "What are we doing today? Can we go play basketball?"

Life had already moved on, only giving me a moment to revel in my accomplishment.

But as I think about all that has occurred over the last three years, I cannot believe that I made it here. When I started in August 2009 I could not see my path and I did not have a clue how I was going to make it through. Thankfully, God knew exactly what I needed to make it through. And it came in the form of friends and family.

I have met the most [EXTRA]ordinary friends and teachers, many of whom I will proudly call my friends for the rest of my life. And the support from all of my "old" ; )  friends has been invaluable. Many of you have sent me messages, made me laugh, helped me with homework, allowed me into your classrooms and just gave me that boost of confidence I needed when I was frustrated and feeling overwhelmed (which was like every day!). THANK YOU. It has made a huge difference!

Specifically, I'd like to thank Gina, Heather and Sarah for just being amazingly great people, watching my kids and helping me through classes, etc. Emily, you are the best, girl and there for me til, literally, the very end. To Minda, for being my great, great friend. We don't see each other as often as we should but just knowing you'd be there at the drop of a hat brings great comfort. And Dee, oh Dee, there are just not any words to express the gratitude I have for your friendship. If nothing else had come out of this experience, your friendship would have made it all worth it. To my DSAGC friends for making this journey with Wyatt not so uncertain, you are all amazing. You've helped me keep things in perspective so that I can move forward with my education. To my running friends for keeping me motivated to take care of myself (either in person or just on Facebook), thank you...the Bad Angels rock! To my sister and Reese, I love you and I will pay for your phone bills one day. For a year. I have the best Mom EVER. PERIOD. Mom, there's nothing I can do or say to ever repay you, but I'll try. And for my Grandpa, thank you for the love you've given and the financial support. They broke the mold with you, sir. I love you dearly. And to Josh, for holding down the proverbial fort while I was off chasing my Purpose; I am forever grateful. [UPDATE: And, of course (apologies for my serious forgetfulness in full effect) thank you to my husband's family as well! They have provided lots of encouragement and supprot along the way! Couldn't ask for better in-laws.]

Now, as the school day has quieted to a dull hum, I am able to relish in the quiet success of the last three years of my life. Although, there's a few things still to do...I'm almost completely done! The end is now beginning and I see the light at the end of the tunnel. I have 5 weeks of my last Masters class and my Masters thesis to finish by July 13th, but the heavy lifting is done. The most important part of my education is now complete: I can submit my paperwork to the state for my residential teaching license!

As I have said, many, many times: I cannot do it all by myself, so I am thankful for each of the gifts you all bring to my life. Thank you for being you. Thank you for being [EXTRA]ordinary.

With love and sincerity,

Friday, May 4, 2012

The Return of Normalcy...?

Around the time that Eden turned one, I found that our lives started to feel more normal again. When you have infants, things change so rapidly, so often that you feel like you're stuck on a baby revolving door! You are constantly reworking things you are doing. When you get a schedule to work, suddenly it changes, then you find that you've gotten the baby food thing down, you move to table food, you get one thing baby-proofed, then you realize your kid can swing the fireplace curtains open and you find a soot-covered hand reaching for the white carpet...or is that last one just me...?

Regardless, the first year of life after a new baby is a whirlwind. But then, all of a sudden, you turn around a think, wait...change isn't smacking you in the face every other day!

And you start to feel the Return of Normalcy.

It may not be exactly like it was before, but at least you feel like you are starting to crusie at your new altitude of normal. So, I was asked the question this week of "when does it slow down?" by a friend. I thought: Never! But when I really looked at how life was going, I started to realize: I'm starting to cruise!

We were told when Wyatt was born that the first year is the hardest. Well, I think that's true with any infant. But for kids with special needs, the first year can be a little [EXTRA] challenging. There can be lots of doctors appointments. I mean, "let's-rent-an-apartment-next-to-Children's" lots and "I'm-on-a-first-name-basis-with-the-parking-staff" lots. And we don't even have as many as some other friends, with whom I totally empathize.

In Wyatt's first year, we had the following: 13 days in the NICU; countless additional appointments with his pediatrician plus all regular check-ups, multiple developmental health check-ups with the Tomas Center for Down Syndrome at Children's Hospital; three cardiology appointments; three appointment with the ENT, one out-patient procedure to put in ear tubes; two appointments with the othomologist; one trip to the ER, one admittance to Children's for overnight observation; and non-medically related appointments in the form of bi-weekly visits from the developmental specialists for Help Me Grow.

Being checked in at Children's Hospital after an ER visit (it's like 3 am here and I look awful)

Daddy holds a sleepy Wyatt pre-op for his ear tubes

But now, it's starting to feel like it is slowing down. We do have bi-weekly Physical Therapy (which is turning into weekly PT while I'm off for summer break) and regular check-ups, but the big stuff is subsiding. And that feels good. We have a few follow-up from the Ear Tubes and Audiology, and then a follow up for Cardiology in two years. Wyatt is on table food and I can typically modify whatever we eat to fit him, even if it does mean sticking it in the blender for a moment if he's struggling to finish the last bit. And Eden and Wyatt are starting to actually kinda play together (or at least Eden palys with Wyatt.)

I'm ready to checkout Mommy! Didn't I make a good purchase?!?

 And additionally, my own school work is slowing down. My student teaching is near complete, which I'm sure has a big hand in feeling like I'm not insane! (I'll post specifically on my school stuff later this week).

But overall, it's feeling, well, manageable now.

I feel like I can start to breathe a little. I'm trying to let that feeling stay with me, rather than worry and wait for the other shoe to drop, because I like cruising sometimes. I can sit back, and even if it's for a moment, close my eyes and feel the wind in my hair. I looked at Wyatt sleeping the other night, before I went to bed...
What a precious little guy

...and I felt very "normal" ; )

That is, until Eden starts Pre-School in the Fall. Oh well, the cruise will be nice while it lasts!